There's a reason they call that guy "Hacker" 
Following a link from Brian Leiter's blog, I happened upon an article in which Peter Hacker defends an old-school conception of philosophy.

As Hacker sees it, there are two things that philosophers might be doing:

The first is metaphysics, enquiry into "the essential, necessary features of all possible worlds."

The second is a priori conceptual investigation, "investigations into what makes sense and what does not."

On the former conception, metaphysics is supposed to be like the sciences in producing facts and findings. The difference is just in whether the findings are necessary (metaphysics) or contingent (empirical science). Yet, Hacker asks, where are the established results of metaphysics? All philosophers have to show for millennia of work is controversy and paradox.

So Hacker advocates the latter conception, on which there are no substantive facts to be gleaned from philosophy at all. Rather, what one learns is that some would-be facts turn out to be nonsense. Yet, I ask, where are the pseudoproblems condemned forever to the dustbin? All philosophers of Hackers' stripe have to show for centuries of work is disagreement and dismissive hand waving.

Hacker's disjunction is plausibly associated with analytic philosophy so called. Claiming that would-be problems are dissolved by criteria of meaning was the method shared by logical positivists and Wittgensteinians, and conceptual analysis is perhaps what gives us the term 'analytic'. And the conception of metaphysics as fundamental ontology and the science of necessity is typically billed as 'analytic metaphysics'.

My rejection of the disjunction is one reason I do not self-identify as an analytic philosopher.

[ 3 comments ] ( 1974 views )   |  [ 0 trackbacks ]   |  permalink

<<First <Back | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | Next> Last>>