Cogito ergo I am right #8: Lazy Philosophical Nitpicker

By Amateur Philosopher Penny Ham

I was thinking just the other day. You can still be a great philosopher without having to create some great philosophical worldview. Basically, you can be a great philosopher and simply be a nitpicker.

In fact, I enjoy roaming worldviewless just critiquing philosophical ideas all the time. I think maybe someday I will get bored with philosophy and just retire with some worldview. Maybe great philosophers build worldviews because they need a worldview to retire on. Typical great philosophers build their own worldviews but I’m not going to be a typical great philosopher. I’m most likely just going to retire on some other great philosopher’s worldview. In that sense, I’ll just be some great philosophical freeloader.

Picking a philosophical worldview can be quite difficult. For instance, I find myself arguing for positions that I’m not necessarily certain about because I just want to see how far I can stretch my position until it snaps. Let me tell you, for a while I was really liking universals and it felt like I almost found a philosophical dream-home. I was really considering Leibnizian Rationalism there for a few minutes. But Quine’s holism is really speaking out to me. Also Putnam has a paper specifically on destroying the distinction between facts and values. I think that is really neat in itself. I would recommend that essay to anyone. The name of it is simply Fact and Value. I seem to be pretty comfortable with an analytic school inspired pragmatism. I’m not sure though. I’ve had too much fun lately trying to go a day without the law of non-contradiction. Too many uses of the word ‘not’. Let me tell you.

My indecisiveness about my philosophical position has increased almost as much as my dogmatic way of arguing about some position that I’m really just underneath indecisive about. Wow, what a sentence, but that’s just the way I feel.

My firm beliefs only go this far.

I believe induction to be quite reliable.
I pretty much just hold causality to be true on the macroscopic level.
I believe in the law of non-contradiction. Otherwise I’d be using a bunch of is and is nots, now wouldn’t I?
I don’t think we can know that our representations match the external world. (from my understanding of problems with the correspondence theory)

What I’m trying to get at is that it’s very easy to be a lazy philosophical nitpicker. But I think you can be a great philosopher and be a lazy one at the same time.

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