Reply To: What is philosophy?

  • Encyclios

    April 3, 2023 at 8:37 AM

    Philosophy as clarification and analysis

    The ancient idea of philosophy as analysis and as a liberator from factors of conceptual confusion can be found in analytical philosophy. This idea is expressed, for example, by B. Russell when he asserts that only through rigorous methods of analysis is it possible to purify and transform, and thus make correct and fruitful, otherwise vague and approximate concepts and sources of error, such as intellect, matter, consciousness, knowledge, experience, causality, will, time.

    L. Wittgenstein, for his part, states in the Tractatus: “The aim of philosophy is the logical clarification of thought. Philosophy is not a doctrine but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. The fruit of philosophy is not philosophical propositions, but the clarification of propositions”. In the second phase of his thought, Wittgenstein speaks of a plurality of languages, correlatives of as many “forms of life”, i.e. cultural contexts in which these languages are intelligible (and with this a Hegelian, as well as a hermeneutic, movement seems to emerge).

    R. Carnap observes that metaphysical problems are pseudo-problems and the correlative propositions are pseudo-propositions; therefore, a purification must be made to eliminate non-scientific elements from philosophy, and with this the logic of science will take the place of “that inextricable tangle of problems known under the name of philosophy”. A.J. Ayer also says that the philosopher must not seek primary principles, nor make a priori judgments about the validity of our empirical beliefs, but must confine himself to works of clarification and analysis.