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And Other Philosophical Studies

1 Philosophical Progress 1.1 The Question of Progress Science and technology are inherently progressive enterprises of rational interaction with nature based on increasingly sophisticated observation and experimentation. So here later means better: there is no sense returning to an earlier state of the art after another has visibly established its superiority. But ordinary life is something else again. Here younger generations do not have a track record of profiting from the experience to their elders: each generation learns only from its own mistakes

Chapter Twelve PRESIDENTIAL VIEWS OF PHILOSOPHICAL PROGRESS he issue before us—philosophical progress—has very different dimensions. In particular, it encompasses a range of very different questions: • Can philosophy make progress? • Does philosophy presently make progress? • Has philosophy made progress in the past? If so, when, where, and how much? • What are the prospects of philosophical progress in the future? And all of these questions presuppose yet another crucially prelimi- nary issue: • What is it that would (or could

arises what is it that we are after when we investigate a “philosophical development”? Are we looking for some philosophical progress specified by some inherent goal? Or do we allege that some change amounting in a particular outcome is the result of external forces? Are we interested in historical or in a theoretical and conceptual development? Or do we think of an intellectual development in which historical and theoretical aspects are narrowly intertwined? At this point, it might be helpful to introduce some terminology I have encountered in Denmark in informal


Today’s critical state of philosophy is examined by considering two of its aspects: the way in which philosophy presently is ever more typically practised (increasing professionalism and specialisation) and the new challenges it has to face to keep up with the changed scientific, and more generally cultural and social context. The essay outlines some prospects of progress in the light of those which still now can be considered the proper tasks of philosophical inquiry. Such tasks are singled out through an historical survey of the original characters of philosophy and an appraisal of its theoretical motivations. The importance of the history of philosophy and the necessity of achieving a virtuous relation among the various philosophical disciplines are stressed to contrast the dangers of excess specialisation and professionalism.

A Study in Philosophical Growth
Series: Heritage
Essays after Kant, Wittgenstein, and Cavell
Reflections on Hume’s Treatise

Nicholas Rescher Philosophical Progress Nicholas Rescher Philosophical Progress And Other Philosophical Studies ISBN 978-1-61451-784-9 e-ISBN 978-1-61451-806-8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at © 2014 Walter de Gruyter Inc