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Opening Salvo

Of course I'm not "anti-philosophy" .... for the philosophy with a little "p". In fact I'll go so far as to say that there have been - and still are - excellent philosophers out there. Philosophers who see their job as trying to understand the world as it truly is in any meaningful ways and then sharing their thoughts on what that might imply and questioning how to go about finding out whether those ideas are genuinely so or not.

But I certainly am - vehemently - anti-Philosophy with a big P. The practice of Philosophy as a thing important in itself. It isn't. When done right, just a portmanteu word for how we think about things.

Of course "how we think about things" is important. But once there are collections of similarlities of such thoughts with demonstrable provenance and validity, that collection becomes an independent discipline and no longer philosophy. Mathematics and quite recently logics were studied as philosophy; they should not be thought of as such now as there are multiple branches of each with depths of techniques and ideas no philoospher ever heard of. Science began as philosopy, and philosophers try to claim science as philosophy still ... but there is stark contrast in how deeply disconfirmation and abandonment of failed hypothesese occurs in practiced science as compared to the perpetuation of downright silly notions in philosophy.

Done right, philosophy should be an incubator for new disciplines cut free and respected as independent as they mature. But philosophers continue to wallow in shallow hubris with nonsensical proclamations in areas where real studies have long since acheived better means of consensus. (Colin McGinn disgustingly holding forth in "Disgust").

Equally, a good deal of philosophy as written today seems to be intentionally obfusticatory.

Very particularly on the questions of mind, consciousness and brain. The materialist "scientific image" is almost certainly vastly nearer any ultimate truth than the logically incoherent and empirically trivially refutable statements of "manifest image". And yet, philosophy to this day, with some of its leading lights and recent writings persists in attempting to rationalize "theories" that prop "folk psychology" and that manifest image. And they do so in the face of and often distorting the real (and repeated) findings of psychology and neuro-physiology.

I have found that in perpetuation of preposterous notions even top name philosophers will not only not accept and adhere to well defined terminology but will knowingly confound prior interpretations of terminology and will - evidently quite knowingly publish works using the words or phrases of earlier works distorting their meanings by conflating it with interpretations sometimes grotesquely contrasting with meanings otherwise plain or established in the earlier works. (Let's call strong empiricists, "anti-realists", as one particularly grating example). They will continue to present arguments that have long had either strong logical and philosophical, or in some cases scientific rebuttal. And as a particular and flagrant affront to intellectual integrity, will knowingly misrepresent one another's work ... to the point where we outside their coterie, if not bamboozled by their posturing of sanctity, could only see as a rabidly scandalous libel. (Many philosopher's claim Dennett "doesn't believe" in consciousness or denies our immanent phenomenality). And none of them, even those whose work I respect, seem in the slightest interested in speaking out about such intellectual perfidy within their ranks.

If philosophers will not respect the intellectual integrity of philosophy and even their living and respected colleagues, why should we? Should we not learn from their example and treat their definitions and assertions with careful contempt and defilement? I have to think so, especially when such is their clear merit.

Quite seriously, philosophers are given "a place at the table" whenever matters of import and public policy are discussed. This needs to stop. No matter how valued some notions frequently place-matted under the rubric of philosophy, by and large any genuine insights were not written by the clown parade called philosphers today. Some would consider a protracted history of failure at addressing and at least constructing a framework for discourse of various issues, a failure even to properly bound the questions regarding an issue, as prima facie evidence that persons of such ilk are NOT those whom one should ask.

-- TWZ (Sometimes out in webbie land using the handle "ColonelZen")

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