Why Still Philosophy. Chapter 1: The Heuristic View (and the Limitations of Analytic Philosophy)

The main characters of a philosophy meant as an activity which is not essentially different from science but deals with questions which go beyond the limits of present sciences are the following: 1) Philosophy is an investigation of the world. It is aimed at dealing with major issues and is justified only insofar as it deals with them. 2) Philosophy provides a global view, it is not limited to sectorial questions. So there cannot be a philosophy of mathematics alone, or physics alone, or biology alone, and so on. 3)Being an investigation about the world, philosophy aims at knowledge. Therefore questions about knowledge are central in philosophy. 4)Philosophy is continuous with sciences. Its objectives are not essentially different from those of sciences. 5)Philosophy makes use of results of sciences. This is not accessory to it, it is essential for its progress. 6)The method of philosophy is essentially the same as that of sciences. 7) Philosophy seeks new knowledge. Seeking new knowledge is part of its deepest nature. 8) Philosophy seeks new discovery methods. Seeking new knowledge, it also seeks new methods to obtain it. 9) Philosophy tries unexplored routes and, by so doing, it may even give origin to new sciences. Its greatest value consists in this. 10) Philosophy makes use of the experience of philosophers of the past. For this may help us to understand where certain ideas lead, avoiding us to try routes which have already revealed fruitless. 11) A conclusive solution of philosophical problems is impossible. Their solutions are always provisional and are bound to be replaced sooner or later by others. Progress exists everywhere, even in philosophy. 12) Philosophy has no specific field of its own, nor specific techniques of its own. But because it moves on an unexplored ground, it is at the same time always exposed to the risk of failure but also capable of surprising developments, originating new sciences.
Keywords The Nature of Philosophy  The Heuristic View  Limitations of Analytic Philosophy
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