– Philosophers make no “progress” and resolve no disputes because we don’t want to. To be more precise about it, we’re attached to a good that makes such progress impossible. The disputes are all insights into the fundamental principles, i.e. the logically axiomatic / achetypes/ Platonic forms / intuitive, or whatever they are. What would I do with a total and absolute refutation of, say, Kantianism (or whatever)? I would still want to teach and study Kant for the for the amount of illumination that comes from the refutation.
-If science acted like philosophy, physics textbooks would spend extensive amounts of time detailing the accounts of geocentrism, natural place, the four elements, the causative power of the moist and dry, etc. The reason science doesn’t do so is not merely because these ideas are false, but because their refutation does not throw light on the subject.
-What would a philosopher do in the world of far-distant conclusions, in a world where the first things are crowded out for the sake of progress? What thrill could a scientist find in another dialectical twist of possibility in his first principle or in all the new ways of looking at a first stage of inquiry which crowd out the ability to lose oneself in the facts?
-Philosophy is self-reflective. Less flatteringly, it continually folds back in on itself and likes to do so. Science reflects on itself only when forced to at gunpoint.
-Progress in learning can mean two things: one can either take the first things for granted, move on, and return to them only in moments of crisis or revolution (science), or to live perpetually in that place of revolution.
-I become more and more convinced that the difference between science and philosophy is one of temperament, in some finer-grained breakdown of the Meyers-Briggs “ST” and “NT” types.
-The distinction between a priori and a posteriori or the logical and the empirical, like the one between nature and nurture, has an initial plausibility that breaks down or becomes more or less qualified whenever one wants it to solve something of consequence.
-The abstract and possible can be seen as a mere denuding or evacuation of the concrete and factual, and the concrete can be seen as a mere instance of the abstract reality. Someone like William James, Hume, Nietzsche, Daniel Dennett etc. see things in the first way; someone like Plato, Descartes, Hegel, Alvin Plantinga see things in the second way.
-“But then those are extremes, and we need to find a middle way!” Maybe. But this still won’t overcome the limitations on time and the intrinsic fascination and interest with either the abstract/ possible/ fundamental or the concrete/factual/ progressive. Tot homines, quot sententiae. So many men, so many minds – and this is not to appeal to relativism but to difference of temperament and the necessity of learning being collective and social.