John F. Sowa schrieb:
> I agree with you on the following point:
> > I think that science and philosophy are somewhat *overlapping*
> > disciplines that can benefit from interaction. When science
> > and philosophy is not in reflective equilibrium one of them,
> > if not both, has to be changed, but there is no meta-rule that
> > tells us what ought to be changed.
> As I said in my previous note, I believe that the primary role
> of philosophy is conceptual analysis, which is essential to every
> area of knowledge from the most informal to the most highly
This view of yours does not make justice to three facts:
(1) The fact that completely new sciences now and then emerge wholly or
partly from philosophy. The first professors in psychology and sociology
were philosophers; and the same goes for some of the professors of the
rather recently created discipline cognitive science. I think this will
continue to happen even in the future.
(2) The fact that many scientific theories so to speak in and of
themselves force scientists to start to philosophize. Witness only the
debates around relativity theory and quantum mechanics. From an
historical perspective, it is by no means odd that the information
sciences suffer from a nominalism vs. realism debate.
(3) The fact that, give the contemporary divsion of labor within the
sciences, it befalls on pure philosophers to see whether what is said in
all the different empirical disciplines make up a coherent picture. And,
if not, propose solutions - and this philosophical-ontological task
cannot be called conceptual analysis. (02)
> The primary role of any science is to study some range of phenomena,
> and conceptual analysis is essential for clarifying and refining
> the concepts in that field. That stage is primarily philosophical,
> but it can be done by scientists, who have some training or at
> least some good intuition about philosophical matters.
I agree completely with the first sentence above, but the second
sentence I would like to put the other way round: "That stage is also
primarily scientific, but it can (sometimes preferably) be done by
philosophers that have knowledge of the corresponding scientific
matters." To my mind, quite a lot of contemporary philosophers think
falsely that they can clarify scientific concepts without bothering
about what the concepts are meant to refer to. (04)
> > First, both Plato and Aristotle were primarily metaphysicians,
> > even though this of course forced them to do conceptual analysis,
> > too.
> Their word for what they were doing is philosophy, which in those
> days included the sciences. Aristotle was, among other things,
> a logician, a linguist, a literary critic, a biologist, a physicist,
> a psychologist, an ethicist, and a political scientist.
I agree completely. I should have expressed myself more carefully. (06)
> As evidence, professionals in each of those fields cite Aristotle
> as the founder or at least one of the founds of their subject.
> What he contributed to those fields was an analysis of the
> fundamental concepts.
> > I wouldn't call this view of John's a Peircean view.
> I never said that all my views were Peircean. (07)
No, I know. But since I think that my views on the relationship between
philosophy and science are close to Peirce's, I had to mention that your
reduction of philosophy to conceptual analysis seems not to be
especially Peircean. (08)
> By the way, CSP
> referred to Aristotle as a "great naturalist".
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