Creativity and pluralism in philosophy

“Philosophy is at best a kind of intellectual explanation, and the more methodological and stylistic limitations are placed in it, the better it will work.”

[Agnes Denes – Map Projections – The Snail]

This is Alexis McLeod (University of Connecticut) in an interview 9:00 a.m.. He thinks of philosophy as a multifaceted and creative endeavor, and thinks we should be better at recognizing it:

My views on philosophy are methodologically diverse and multifaceted. Philosophy can be done in many ways. I have already explained in some of my works that I see philosophy as the ideal “research and design” department of the academy. Part of what enables us (ideally at least) is the lack of rigorous methodological limitations to knowledge creation. Philosophy is at best a kind of intellectual explanation, and the more methodological and stylistic barriers are placed in it, the less it will work.

I think we sometimes try harder to be like the useful and currently more socially valuable subjects like the physical sciences. But the methods of the physical sciences, while very necessary for these fields, are not suitable for extensive intellectual exploration, but are more suitable for exploring new lands without following the map. In the physical sciences, we try to produce knowledge within certain parameters and methods that we have accepted as the product of some kind of knowledge. It goes without saying that such methods do not work much when applied on their own, when applied to the idea that we should aim for the production of some kind of knowledge or even some kind of knowledge. It’s like trying to use the rules of chess to see if we should play chess, what types of chess we can play, and the nature of the game. To think about these things, we need to be able to move or act outside the rules of chess, and if we go back and create new rules like chess to manage our thinking about the types. And why we play, so only a few are selected. Different answers will be possible, and we limit ourselves from the beginning.

Philosophy has the power to do this (again, ideally) because it is not so methodologically binding. In my opinion, instead of the technical convenience or the more frequently used but strictly defined “difficulty”, philosophical thought would be better served by emphasizing creativity as a distinctive feature, which is to be followed. There seems to be nothing but joy. A unique writing and speaking style that relies heavily on and attempts to copy the STEM field. I’ve always had in mind that one should never try to copy someone else’s style or power. Find and then do what makes you special and valuable in a way that no one else can. We can promote new and different things that offer something you can’t really find anywhere else, but we often don’t. I started my academic life in physics. Physics is an interesting field. But the world already has physics. It doesn’t require us to have physics. This requires us to be a little different.

Although I think things are getting better (slowly), and maybe a little better than they are today when I started my career, we still often find ourselves stuck with strong methodological barriers, and thus Weakening and limiting what philosophy can do. Sometimes this is a smart choice aimed at positioning oneself in the academy – but when it comes down to it, we won’t justify our existence by becoming a deal-basement STEM. Most universities already have real STEM, so why do they need us? Not only is philosophy invaluable in the “big tent” methodological sense, but it’s also the way I think we have the best chance of surviving and retaining at the academy.

The definition of a variety of philosophical approaches is something to keep in mind when discussing philosophical traditions that one is less familiar with. Macleod, a Chinese philosopher, warns:

In general, I think that when we claim that all philosophical traditions of large parts of the world, such as China, clearly represent a single aspect of the division known in the West or elsewhere, we Basically always wrong. If there are natural and unnatural scholars in the history of Western philosophy, why shouldn’t we expect to see it elsewhere in the world? The hypothesis must always be that a narrative has different views, and the burden of reasoning must fall on those who wish to claim that the narrative does not include such diversity but only represents a philosophical position. Of course, much more can be said in my case, but fortunately someone who insists on philosophical diversity in a tradition has far less argument than those who reject such diversity. All I have to do is point out that specific ideas * exist *, not that everyone has them, while my opponent must show that * no one * has specific ideas in the tradition – something they certainly can’t.

The whole interview is here.

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