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Does contemporary philosophy have any relevance?

Asked by LostInParadise (18327 points ) January 29th, 2014

Let me preface my question by saying that I have the greatest respect for the contributions of jellies like SavoirFaire who have training in philosophy.

The problem I have is that when I read about philosophical ideas from people like Wittgenstein, Quine, Putnam, Rorty and the post-modernists, I have a lot of trouble making sense of what they are saying. I just came across this article arguing over whether we might be brains in vats and, beyond understanding the concept of brain in a vat, I have no idea what they are talking about.

As another example, I always thought that Kant made a useful distinction between synthetic statements like “Some bachelors are unhappy” and analytic statements like “All bachelors are unmarried.” Then I read Quine’s contention that there is no distinction between the two types of statement. The argument hinged on being able to know the definition of terms like bachelor. I did not find this very enlightening.

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