Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Myth of a Complete Philosophical System

The School of Athens, by Raphael
Several major philosophers have attempted to create a system of philosophy that is complete, fully-integrated, self-consistent, and capable of offering a credible view of man’s place in the universe. But most of these philosophers have achieved the opposite—they have created doctrines that are full of glaring inconsistencies while also containing a few truths.

The works of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Newton, Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Kant are full of flaws and inconsistencies, and yet these philosophers have made highly fruitful contributions in the development of our modern world. There is no reason to believe that a self-consistent system will contain more truths than the one that is not self-consistent. In fact, most self-consistent systems in history are totally false (like the religious doctrines).

One of the most important lessons of history of philosophy is that a philosophical system without any inconsistencies is unattainable, and those who try to create such a system often end up creating a cult (religious or secular).

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