Stephen Stich: Quote of the Day

stephenstichsmall.jpgThe idea that philosophy could be kept apart from the sciences would have been dismissed out of hand by most of the great philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. But many contemporary philosophers believe they can practice their craft without knowing what is going on in the natural and social sciences. If facts are needed, they rely on their “intuition”, or they simply invent them. The results of philosophy done in this way are typically sterile and often silly. There are no proprietary philosophical questions that are worth answering, nor is there any productive philosophical method that does not engage the sciences. But there are lots of deeply important (and fascinating and frustrating) questions about minds, morals, language, culture and more. To make progress on them we need to use anything that science can tell us, and any method that works.”

— Stephen Stich, from Steve Pyke’s lovely collection of philosopher portraits.

My kind of philosopher!

[Photo: Copyright Steve Pyke. I hope he won’t mind my borrowing the Stich picture if I promise to buy one or two of his prints, and tell my readers to consider it. I really think I could use a Quine!]