Is Philosophy Just Harder Than Science?

21 July 2017

Check out this article by philosopher David Papineau in the Times Literary Supplement:

The article challenges the criticism of philosophy that it doesn't seem to make progress, especially when compared to scientific enterprises. Philosophy hasn't produced conclusive answers to questions posed thousands of years ago. Science has accumulated an enormous wealth of knowledge about the world. A philosopher's advocate may defend philosophy's status by pointing to how the methods of philosophy are less straightforward or to the differences in what's being studied. Papineau actually rejects these defenses of philosophy. Instead, he argues that philosophy is just harder than science.

It's a curious argument. I'm not sure if I'm sold. I feel like the defenses Papineau rejects are actually very spot on. In fact, maybe I'd want to argue that the differences in method explains why philosophy may be "harder" than science. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Also, check out this blog by our own David Livingstone Smith on the relationship between truth and progress in philosophy: