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Philosophy in the 21st Century

October 24, 2015

I want to consider here the general status of intelligent discussion in society. The general status of rationality in our discourse with others. And in many ways I would like to suggest that we have took backward steps in recent times. On what basis would I make this suggestion? It is a combination of the increasing specialization of academia, and the increasing dumbing down, or levelling out of general education. As a result there is little communication between the high level view and the average, everyday view of reason. The high level view thus resorts to ever more technical speculations, further and further removed from the intuitions of our daily concerns. The common view becomes ever more entrenched in a fixed set of basic premises/beliefs, with which it is bombarded during education and in a cultural self-affirmation and re-affirmation of these premises that fixates them in peoples minds to the extent of making them incapable of independent and critical thought regarding them, which would be the starting point for proper rational and philosophical enquiry.

In regards to each of metaphysics, epistemology, logic and morality, the common view has become deeply entrenched in materialistic premises regarding the former two, and cultural relativistic premises regarding the two latter ones. So how then can we have an open, rational discussion with people who are already committed to these premises? They have decided already how they want to end the discussion, and what they think the true answers are before we have even begun the debate!

Take metaphysics: right lets sit and have a discussion about reality. Their response: Okay well lets see what the scientific evidence is telling us. In other words, lets take whatever current science says on authority and not think for ourselves. Instead, just use buzz words like evidence to cover our own ignorance and end the debate before it can start. It never seems to cross their mind that it is people who are scientists and who interpret evidence in line with many theoretical assumptions and inclinations. Of course it doesn’t, they never tried to learn epistemology for themselves, because they take it on faith that science has or will have the answers thanks to their indoctrination, I mean, education.

We could go through them all in this way. In each case a philosophical discussion never gets a chance to get started, and so our common philosophical inteligence as a community drops. This has been happening for some time. Logical atomism and positivism inaugurated this disdainful approach to open and critical discussion of subjects such as metaphysics. They were tired out and fed up that there were not simple, clear-cut answers, so they decided to claim there must not be any answers, so we should stop asking the questions. Of course, historically, the grounds for their view were shown to be weak and so they did not last long in academic philosophy. But academic philosophy is no longer in touch with common, everyman philosophy, so there is no stopping the latter from holding to such views regardless.

It is a difficult situation we currently face, the examples of scientists propounding naive philosophies disregarded a century ago as if they are new is a particularly damaging development. As I think is the cult of atheism. That thinks atheism is somehow true by default. The default of course being its materialistic premises it was indoctrinated with in school education.

These developments are dangerous because they are not open to critical reason. They thus play into the hands of the holding of convenient views, which further entrenches corrupted power in the system. For what is convenient is whatever the current powerful people say is true. Truth and critical reason as properly practiced, remain something that is very inconvenient, and far from easy to accept. But they are what we need to keep sight of because ultimately they are all that keeps man from descending into an unconscious, unreflective, herd-based existence.

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