Do Philosophers Disagree?

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Do Philosophers Disagree?

Page 1

“Must Philosophers disagree?”


The nature of the philosophical activity of the mind has often been obscured by having standards applied to it that were not set in accordance with the aims proper to philosophy, because they were taken from other domains, such as science, religion or pure logic. It is perhaps a consequence of applying standards unsuited to the essential character of philosophical thinking that ‘truth’ in philosophy has come to be considered unattainable, or at any rate unattained. It is generally assumed that nobody knows what ‘the truth’ in philosophy really is. No philosophical system has been ‘proved’; the assertions of no philosophical school are undisputed. It is widely held that philosophy, in so far as it does not identify with science, is characterised by agnosticism or failure.

We intend to say something here in defence of the opposite view. This is usually presented by saying that all philosophical theories about the world should be considered as containing or representing some truth about the world. I would prefer to say that truth in philosophy – albeit unknown for the greater part – is yet known to an appreciable extent. Although not always explicit in great philosophies, it is nevertheless there, implied.