On this site we are frequently called upon to justify the scientific method and its limits, therefore I think a similar discussion of philosophy and the philosophical method is appropriate.
The following is the introductory paragraph describing the degree of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford, UK. www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses-listing/philosophy-and-the...
“The study of Philosophy develops analytical rigour and the ability to criticise and reason logically. It allows you to apply these skills to many contemporary and historical schools of thought and individual thinkers, and to questions ranging from how we acquire knowledge and form moral judgements to central questions in the philosophy of religion, including the existence and nature of God and the relevance of religion to human life.”
The study of Philosophy … allows you to apply these skills … to central questions in the philosophy of religion, including the existence and nature of God and the relevance of religion to human life.
Given that there is no valid evidence to support the claim of the existence of any gods and that religion is essentially an amalgam of mythology, wishful thinking and social control, it seems to me that the philosophical approach of analytical rigour and logical reasoning has completely failed with respect to religion. If the philosophical approach fails the religious test, how can its answers be trusted for anything else?
This failure, to me, is equivalent to scientists saying, “Well, we completely blew it and got physics all wrong; but it’s OK, chemistry, biology, and geology, etc., those are all fine.”
My dad had an interesting take on philosophy. From the fields of Normandy to the ruins of Hamburg, he was an ambulance attendant (medic) in WW2 with the British Army fighting the German Army (“Jerry”). He had his full share of terror, near misses and the horrors of war. One evening we were in discussions over a glass or two of scotch. He opined, “It’s all well and good to discuss philosophy in a university classroom, but when Jerry’s got you pinned down under heavy mortar and machine gun fire, all those fancy words aren’t worth a tuppenny damn.”
Philosophy, it fails intellectually, practically and existentially. What is it good for?
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