An Insecure Bunch

Philosophers seem to always be worried about not being taken seriously as providers of answers to important questions. But Philosophy Is Not a Science and so it is foolish of them to expect that kind of respect. They do not provide answers but they do often provide useful (albeit arguably often meaningless) questions and/or commentary which challenge the presumptions of our language and are better interpreted as art intended to influence our mood and mindset than as providing any kind of authoritative answers to real questions.

So the next question, I guess, has to be “What then is philosophy?

Ever since reading Ayer’s ‘Problem of Knowledge’ in the late ’60s I have felt that he was clearly doing it right in the sense that so many of the problems of philosophy had seemed to me to amount to people arguing at cross-purposes. Perhaps the real task is just to focus attention on understanding what many philosophers condescendingly call “the folk” rather than trying to give universal answers to questions that do not (and maybe cannot) have any universal interpretation.

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