Not too long ago, I had a Twitter exchange with Philosophy Talk’s Josh Landy about whether Freud was a good philosopher. It struck me that I’ve never given much thought to the question of what good philosophy is. Is it just a matter of taste? Or are there guidelines for separating the wheat from the chaff?
Let’s say you could snap your fingers and all your various tastes and aesthetic preferences changed overnight. You would appreciate different foods, you would like different books, you would prefer different colors and clothing styles and jokes. Would you do it? I’m guessing your answer is ‘no.’
Lots of us have tastes in music, movies, stories, or art—and we generally know what they are. But what explains why we like what we do? Is it just a subjective reaction to something we recognize or identify with? Or are we responding to its objective aesthetic value?