Understanding Philosophy

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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What is the primary intellectual aim of philosophy? The standard view is that philosophy aims to provide true answers to philosophical questions. But if our aim is to settle controversy by answering such questions, our discipline is an embarrassing failure. Moreover, taking philosophy to aim at providing true answers to these questions leads to a variety of puzzles: How do we account for philosophical expertise? How is philosophical progress possible? Why do job search committees not care about the truth or falsity of a candidate’s philosophical views? We argue that philosophy does not aim at discovering true answers to philosophical questions. Instead, its primary intellectual aim is understanding. We argue that many familiar aspects of philosophy become intelligible once we accept this hypothesis.

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Author Profiles

Michael Hannon
Nottingham University
James Nguyen
Stockholm University

Citations of this work

Why Mary Left Her Room.Michaela M. McSweeney - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Understanding in Science and Philosophy.Michaela McSweeney - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg & Mark Walker (eds.), Attitude in Philosophy.
Reassessing Academic Plagiarism.James Stacey Taylor - forthcoming - Journal of Academic Ethics:1-20.

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References found in this work

What do philosophers believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Philosophical explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars (ed.) - 1963 - New York,: Humanities Press.
True Enough.Catherine Z. Elgin - 2017 - Cambridge: MIT Press.

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