Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Arrested Development? (H3)
In this week’s reading a quote from Alfred North Whitehead was mentioned which went “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” Western philosophy undoubtedly owes a lot to Plato, but is saying that it is merely commentary on the works of Plato true though? In the strictest sense this is not true as there were philosophers before Plato, however, even in a less strict sense I feel this is not really true. It is probably true, that if Plato was to walk into a philosophy classroom today, he would likely be teaching the class by the end of it, while if Pythagoras walked into a college mathematics class he would have a serious learning curve. Is it because philosophy has not changed though, or because the questions surrounding the world have not changed? If you look at the fields of medicine, science and biology there are fields that contently deal with new discovers as we learn more about the physical world, our own bodies, our own plant, other plants, etc. In these cases, we are taking something that was not previous known has been uncovered, no information is opened up, no fields of study. This does happen in philosophy, for example philosophies on or related to technology have changed developed with technology. Many of the questions and issues of philosophy remain unchanged. New ground does not open up, there are no new fields to research or to study or no new information to change our perspective, everything is a matter of opinion. So there lies the question. Has the field simply stalled out, or because we are puzzling over problem that never change but cannot be illuminated through imperial experiments, therefore, never truly solved.