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What Philosophy Deals With

November 6, 2009

Roger has an interesting guest post by Mike Hulme, author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change. You should read the whole post here, but there’s a particular observation that gets my goat:

Grainger claimed that ‘philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof’.

It is, of course, true that philosophy deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof. But that shouldn’t be taken to mean that philosophy is all and only ever about belief. Mathematics also deals with matters that are not capable of scientific proof; and mathematics is not about belief. I’ll say more in a later post. For now, chew on that.

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2 comments

  1. Philosophy deals with some subjects which are not capable of scientific proof – such as morality, ethics, and aesthetics.

    However, philosophy also deals with logic, which is capable of scientific proof. If took logic in college and it was mathematical. If A is not equal to B and B is not equal to C then A is not equal to C, etc.

    So I would assume the comment is dealing with some areas of philosophy – but not all.


  2. Don’t know. Maybe I understand scientific proof differently than you do, but I take it that a mathematical proof isn’t equivalent with scientific proof. As for the proofs that can be offered in ethics and aesthetics, I have to say I think there’s quite a bit of logic that goes into these branches of philosophy.



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