Philosophy’s shame: reflections on an ambivalent/ambiviolent relationship with science

Reynolds, Jack 2016, Philosophy’s shame: reflections on an ambivalent/ambiviolent relationship with science, Sophia, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 55-70, doi: 10.1007/s11841-016-0514-4.

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Title Philosophy’s shame: reflections on an ambivalent/ambiviolent relationship with science
Author(s) Reynolds, JackORCID iD for Reynolds, Jack
Journal name Sophia
Volume number 55
Issue number 1
Start page 55
End page 70
Total pages 16
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2016-04
ISSN 0038-1527
Keyword(s) meta-philosophy
Arts & Humanities
Summary In this paper, I take inspiration from some themes in Ann Murphy’s recent book, Violence and the Philosophical Imaginary, especially her argument that philosophy’s identity and relation to itself depends on an intimate relationship with that which is designated as not itself (e.g. other academic disciplines and non-philosophy in general), the latter of which is a potential source of shame that calls for some form of response. I argue that this shame is particularly acute in regard to the natural sciences, which have gone on in various ways to distance themselves from their progenitor discipline and to achieve both agreement and technical progress in a way that could never be said of philosophy. I trace out some of the reactions to this shame that have dominated in the twentieth century and been a factor in the so-called analytic-continental ‘divide’. The options here are many and varied, but they range from cannibalism (philosophy as queen of the sciences, thus conferring some of the prestige of science upon the philosophy, which alone can unite or ground the various ontic sciences), scientific naturalism (the philosopher defers to the sciences, and most forms of meta-philosophy are rejected as an outmoded remnant of first philosophy), or some kind of irenic separatism about methods or domains such that science and philosophy do not encroach upon the territory of each other. My aims here are mainly diagnostic, but I will indicate where I think that certain responses to this shame are unproductive and unhelpful, with divergent weaknesses associated with the traditions that have come to be labelled ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ respectively. My tacit suggestion, then, is that philosophy needs to become post-analytic and meta-continental, but I will also briefly criticize some recent efforts to do precisely this in what is sometimes called the ‘scientific turn’ in contemporary continental (or post-continental) philosophy.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11841-016-0514-4
Field of Research 220310 Phenomenology
220316 Philosophy of Specific Cultures (incl Comparative Philosophy)
2203 Philosophy
2204 Religion And Religious Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID 970122
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer Science + Business Media Dordrecht
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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