Philosophy: Eternal topics, evolving questions

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Philosophers are famous for disagreeing on the issues that interest them. Is morality objective? Is the mind identical to the body? Are our actions free or determined? Some professional philosophers will say no to these questions—but an almost equal number will say yes. Moreover, empirical data bears this out. In a widely publicized PhilPapers survey, conducted by David Bourget and David Chalmers, little or no consensus was found among contemporary philosophers on key philosophical theses. In the face of all this, does philosophy make progress? Surely the question answers itself. If philosophers can’t agree on their answers, the inevitable conclusion is: they make no progress. Or, at least, they make no progress, except on the meta-question of whether there is progress. On this there can be no disagreement. But philosophers disagree on the meta-question, too! A recent exchange in the Times Literary Supplement will give you the flavour: On the optimistic side, David Papineau, a. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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