Monday, 11 September 2017

The Intellectual Arms Race in Philosophy

Here's an excerpt from Nicholas Rescher's The Strife of Systems: An Essay on the Grounds and Implications (Page 205 - 206):

"The history of philosophy is akin to an intellectual arms race where all sides escalate the technical bases for their positions.  As realists sophisticate their side of the argument, idealists sophisticate their counterarguments; as materialists become more subtle, so do phenomenalists, and so on.  At the level of basics, the same old positions continue to contest the field -- albeit that ever more powerful weapons are used to defend increasingly sophisticated positions."

I think it is true that there is very little consensus in philosophy. The major philosophers in history do not seek consensus with past philosophers and their contemporaries—they may be inspired by other philosophers in a technical sense but they endeavor to develop their own original doctrine.

1 comment:

Ilene Skeen said...

I think you are right, there is very little consensus, with one exception -- almost all the philosophers alive in the last 60 years are 100% against Ayn Rand. If they are not 100% against Rand, they say she misunderstood Kant or Nietzsche, and they forgive her.