What is the philosophy for?

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The last Sam Harris podcast (#120) had a big insight for me. Due to the strong compartmentalization of the human mind, we used to live with a lot of contradictions. These contradictions do not bother us too much, but we feel some itching inconsistency in our worldview. The most serious type of contradiction is between our intuition and the scientific point of view. That is understandable, considering that our intuition is an evolutionary product serving everyday (mostly biological) purposes. A scientist will spend a lifetime moulding his/her intuition into a new one, which will be adequate to his/her field of expertise. Even then the internal struggle may continue if some change of the current scientific paradigm is afoot.

But, not everyone is a scientist, so here is the philosophy to offer a remedy or smooth these contradictions. It offers a world-view, which accommodates most of the contra-intuitive scientific understanding of how reality works. The main motivation of science is to understand nature in terms of the ability to predict or at least quantitatively describe the observable phenomena, so quantitative modelling is paramount. By contrast, the philosophy main purpose is to make sense of things looking thru the glasses of our intuition. Eventually, after some really good arguments, our intuition will accept some new concepts and will evolve in time. That’s why the history of philosophy is so important for studying philosophy, that is the record of our ever-changing philosophy intuition.

PS I’m not saying that the only way to evolve our intuition and way of thinking is to do philosophy, but it’s the most systematic and effective non-scientific way.

Categories human condition


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