Saturday, August 3, 2019

On The Myth of Original Philosophy

Philosophy is like oxygen in the sense that we can use philosophy and oxygen without knowing that both exist. Human beings have been taking actions that have philosophical implications for more than 70,000 years, but they became aware of the domain of philosophy only in the last 2500 years, and we became aware of the existence of oxygen only in the last 250 years.

There are no original ideas in philosophy, because ideas are pre-philosophy— they are universal and timeless. But there can be original arguments. A philosopher, who comes up with arguments for or against certain philosophical positions, exists in a particular spatio-temporal domain and his arguments can be judged as original or unoriginal in light of spatio-temporal concerns that have motivated his work.

The philosophers who claim that they are the fount of original ideas are generally ignorant—they have no understanding of the nature and scope of philosophy.

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