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1392, Millenium Issue (Dec. 29, 1999), pp. 2069-2080 Published by: The Royal Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3030162 . Accessed: 06/10/2011 09:31
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This situation is somewhat analogous to the shift from the sceptical concerns of Socrates and Plato to the constructivephilosophical enterpriseof Aristotle.However. As soon as we can revise and formulatea philosophical question to the point that we can find a systematicway to answer it. epistemology. they are often questions about our concepts and the relationshipbetween our concepts and the world they represent. And third. in principle. It is hard forus today to recover the lished scientific intensitywith which this issue was once debated. we can see that scepticismno longer occupies centre stage. The general theme of these investigations. (1999) 354. there are important differences method. (vi) the philosophyof science. Something very much like this happened to the problem of life.I believe. we can discuss the prospects for the followingsix philosophical areas: (i) the traditional mindbody problem.There is no sharp dividing line between the two. 2069 . it shared with the markedly different European philosophical traditionsince the 17thcenturyan excessive concern with issues in the theoryof knowledge and with scepticism. The question 'What is the nature of causation?' is a philoquestion.J r THE ROYAL SOCIETY The future of philosophy John R. will become clearer if we consider These differences actual examples.Second. Both. philosophy is in large part concerned with and questions that we have not yet found a satisfactory way to answer. As we came to understand the molecular biological mechanismsof life. Soc.ethics the philosophical questions cannot be settled by the simple application of eitherexperimentalor mathematical methods. Keywords: philosophy. Philosophy in the 20th century was characterized by a concern with logic and language. a philosophical question. (ii) the philosophy of mind and cognitive science. is that the appraisal of the true significanceof issues in the philosophy of knowledge enables us to have a more constructiveaccount of various other philosophical problemsthan has typicallybeen possible forthe past threecenturies. philosophical questions are typically about conceptual issues. It was once considered a philosophical problem how 'inert' matter could become 'alive'. and this enables us to have a more constructiveapproach to philosophical problems than was possible for earlier generations. USA There is no sharp dividing line between science and philosophy. but that we came to have a much richer concept of the biological mechanisms of life and heredity. For these reasons a philosophical problem such as the resoluproblem if it is put into a shape where it admits of scientific nature of life can become a scientific tion. but the quesscientific tion'What is the relationshipbetween mind and body?' is still. The question 'What is the cause of cancer?' is a scientificand not a philosophical question. it ceases to be philosophical and becomes scientific. However. Einstein's relativity theory is an obvious 20th-century example.First. rather than with specificindividual questions. I hope a similar thing will happen to the problem of consciousness and its relation to brain processes. The point is not so much that the mechanists won and the vitalists lost. cognitivescience. 2069-2080 R. Department Philosophy. science. which is from the concerns of earlier centuries of philosophy. In each case B Phil. styleand presuppositions. PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE Because this article is intended fora predominantlyscientific audience. though there is no sharp in dividing line. (v) ethics and practical reason. but I believe with recent progress in neurobiology and with a philosophical critique of the C) 1999 The Royal Society 1. Berkeley. they are questions for which there is no generally accepted method of solution.in large part.Trans. are universal in subject matter and both aim at the truth. I will begin by explaining some of the between science and philosimilarities and differences sophy. tends to stand in a peculiar relationship to the natural sciences. philosophical questions systematic questions.Lond. Searle CA of of University California Berkeley.Philosophical problems tend to problems do not have three related featuresthat scientific have. First.As the centuryends. tend to be what I will call 'framework' of they tend to deal with large frameworks phenomena. they tend to concern large frameworks the framework. (iii) the philosophy of language. Second. mind-body problem.but philosophical problems tend to have rather than specificquestions within three special features. As I write this it is still regarded by many as a philosophical question.this ceased to be a philosophical question and became a matterof estabfact. Sometimes major scientific to advances are contributions both science and philosophy and revision because they involve changes in frameworks of concepts. Because philosophy deals with framework questions and with questions that we do not know how to answer it systematically. that is.With that in mind. And third they tend to involve conceptual issues. they are about large frameworks and they involve conceptual issues. (iv) the philosophyof society. Similarly the quessophical and not a scientific tion 'How many neurotransmittersare there?' is a and not a philosophical question. 94720.
mathematical and linguistic solutions.However.but the single most decisive difference between 20th-centuryphilosophy and earlier epochs. systematicmethods for solving philosophical questions.logic as a subject was essentiallycomplete. and it is hard to imagine how you would do modern computational theory withoutquantificationallogic and set theory. R.Lond. For example. or quantificationallogic. Locke. though still inadequate. In which case it will.preciselybecause we lack established empirical or mathematical methods for investigatingphilosophical problems. are still very much with us as philosophical questions. Frege (as well as. when a little-knownprofessorof mathematicsinjena named Gottlob Frege revolutionized the subjectof logic and effectively inventedthe philosophy of language. As soon as we find a systematic way to answer a question. has been finallyresolved and is no longer a philosophical question. In the course of developing logic.again beginning with the Greeks. The question as to the nature of life.Austin and other 'linguistic philosophers'. like the problem of life. I would estimate that about 90 per cent of the philosophical problems left us by the Greeks are still with us.This has been the dream of philosophers. we should be able to solve all of them. need to know we something about the jumping-off place from which we will be enteringthat new century. With the completion of the theory of the syllogism. had been interested in language. for example. Even a philosopher as great as Kant could say that by the 18th century. the Britishempiricists. is that words get their meanings by standing for ideas in the mind. I do not think anyone believes that today. called 'On denoting'.there was nothingfurther be done in logic. and it seemed to some philosophers that we might be able to solve all the questions within a few lifetimes. and that the ideas in the mind stand for objects in the world by way of resemblance. On the contrary. Soc. a very large number of other questions leftus by the ancient Greeks. published in Mind in 1905. but the general attitude was that we could take language for granted and get on with the more interestingphilosophical issues. e. Wittgenstein) argued that this whole approach is bankrupt and worked out a much richer. Phil. cease to be 'philosophical' and will become 'scientific'. but in fact we have not had much success in getting rid of philosophy by solving all philosophical problems.This new era actually began in 1879. 20TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY: LOGIC AND LANGUAGE So far I have been discussing certain general features of philosophy as an area of investigation and how it differsfrom the sciences.g. and that we have not yet found a scientific. Godel's theorem or the set theoretical paradoxes.2070 J.These features of philosophical questions. more or less inadvertently. the logic of the quantifierexpressions'There is some x such that' and 'For all x. invented the subject of the philosophy of language. I hope somethinglike this will happen to the so-called mind-body problem in the 21stcentury. the word 'chair' stands fora mental picture that I have of chairs. going back to the Greek philosophers. that eventually philosophy will cease to exist as a discipline as we find a systematic scientific way to answer all philosophical questions.have been amenable to scientific. much later.I need to say at least a few words about some special featuresof 20thcenturyphilosophy. It seems that even at the end of the 21st century we shall still have a very large number of philosophical problems left. B 2. and the mental picture stands for real chairs in the world. by way of resemblance. From the time of Aristotle until 1879. The mental picture looks like real chairs. since the time of the ancient Greeks. the Aristotelian theory of the syllogism dominated logic to the extentthat the theoryof the syllogismwas taken to be more or less coextensivewith the discipline of logic. x is such that'. and it is now so much a part of contemporarylife that we are almost unaware of its special revolutionary features.and a young English philosopher named Bertrand Russell.we stop calling it 'philosophical' and start calling it 'scientific'. It might seem. Searle Thefuture ofphilosophy traditional categories of the mental and the physical. Only a small number of the philosophical problems left us by the preceding centuries. (1999) R. The Greeks could not possibly have had the sort of philosophical problems we have had in gettinga correct philosophical interpretationof the results of quantum mechanics. linguisticor mathematical way to answer them. . that one can say anythingand make any speculation that one likes. These differencesdo not have the result that in philosophy anythinggoes. The distinctive 20thcentury style of doing philosophy started with Russell's famous article. Frege revoto lutionized logic by inventingwhat came to be known as the predicate calculus. believed that there were about a thousand philosophical questions left.Austin. through the effortsof Wittgenstein.Trans. Before I try to make some projections about the futureof philosophy. Furthermore. Frege's logic is vastly more powerfulthan traditional Aristotelianlogic.'What is a good society?'. Nor did they have such subjects as the philosophy of language or the philosophy of mind as we think of them.'What is the nature of truth?'. For example. A generation ago it was widely believed that we had at last discovered. fromwhat I have said. explains why science is always 'right'and philosophy is always 'wrong'. that they tend to be framework questions and tend not to lend themselves to systematic empirical research.'What is the proper aim and goal of human life?'. which applied Frege's methods to the special problems of analysing sentences in ordinary language. philosophyof language. is the central role of logic and language in both the methods and the subject matter. The picture of language and meaning that pervades. However. and with systematicresearch. such as 'What is the nature ofjustice?'.Philosophy in the 20th century has many special features. Previous philosophers.I believe. we are gettingcloser to being able to find a systematicscientificway to answer this question. No one paid much attentionto Frege except for some European mathematicians. I believe. the use of the predicate calculus in computer science is now simply taken forgranted.'What is the nature of language and meaning?'.we have to be all the more rigorousand precise in our philosophical analyses. and get an answer that all competent investigatorsin the field can agree is the correctanswer.If we are going to examine the possibilities of philosophyin the 21stcentury. Frege also. Berkeleyand Hume. new philosophical problems are constantlybeing thrown up and whole new areas of philosophy invented.
Philosophy in the 20th centuryhad three new featuresas a resultof the revolutionbroughtabout by Frege. optimism about using logic and language as the primary tools of philosophy ran at its highest. between descriptive and evaluative statements. statementsthat are true or false as a matterof fact in the world. a number of philosophers of language. Phil. language was not only a subject of philosophical investigation. There are many different schools. but instead of analysing the ideas of causation in his mind. that we would be much better offwith a logically perfectlanguage of the sort that he had invented.Trans. What exactly is meant by saying that A causes B? Can we get an analysis of the causal relationship in termsof more fundamentalfeatures?This was felt by many philosophers of the 20th century to be not so much a revolutionarychange in philosophy. but one crucial for diffierence the purpose of this article is that analytic B R.'Most bachelors drink beer'.it is not at all clear.If you accept these two distinctions in their pure forms and many philosophers didthey seem to definethe nature of philosophyand to determine its specificresearchprogramme.and for the discussion of philosophical problems in general. forexample. Indeed. that we should attemptto achieve a unificationof Chomsky's syntax with the results of the researches that were going on in semantics and pragmatics.but the analysis of language was taken to be an essential tool in investigating other areas of philosophy. in In the middle years of the century. It seemed to orders. than they were in syntax. methods and approaches in philosophy. myselfincluded. on the other hand.The first distinction statements between. The point for the present discussion is this. the rules of 'universal grammar'? But philosophers were always more interestedin semantics and in pragmatics. I would not wish to give the impressionthat philosophy has been or is now a unified subject. There are other approaches.and it is the prevailing approach in literally all of our major universities. He thoughtit was and incoherent and self-contradictory. Semantics. those statementsthat are true or false by definition.but rather a matter of making patterns of analysis that had already been presentin philosophyclearer and more precise. there is no question that it has become the dominant approach to philosophy. thus. the use of sentences to give give promises.These are (i) the distinction between analytical and synthetic propositions.as well as Russell's colleague G. at the end the century. but the studyof language as a discipline was itselfrevolutionized by the work of Noam Chomsky and others. he analyses the language we use in stating causal factsabout the world. on is between analytic and synthetic the one hand. Second. on a standard definition. For this reason we need to distinguish between the philosophy of language and linguistic philosophy. I have said that philosophers in the 20th century showed a special obsession with language. It is not the only way of doing philosophy. So. and. than previous generations of philosophers had.deals with the truth conditions of sentences: under what conditions is a sentence true or false? And pragmatics deals with the use of sentences in actual human situations. Moore.Frege'slogic gave us a much more powerfultool foranalysinglogical relations.The philosophy of language deals with certain general featuresof language. but he thought that the ambiguities and vagaries of ordinary language could be cleaned up by analysing ordinary-language sentences in the predicate calculus. Searle Frege himselfhated ordinarylanguage. and the one that I have described is usually called 'analytic philosophy'.cannot be literallytrue or false. the philosophical analysis of language itself became a central indeed some would say thecentral problem in philosophy. Russell was no fan of ordinary language.attitudesand evaluations. The 20th-centuryphilosopher also proceeds by analysis. forexample. or even most. the decades after the Second World War. E. First.Though Chomsky did effort indeed revolutionize the subject of linguistics. such as existentialism and phenomenology. Continental philosophers with some notable exceptions tend to see philosophyas less like the sciences and more like a branch of literature.especially France. such as truth and meaning. such as the statements of the natural sciences and such statements about contingentfactsin the world as. What exactly is the relationship between language and reality? How is it that words can stand for things in the real world? What exactly is the nature of truth and reference? Third. An example of a descriptive statement would be 'The .This is not the place to tryto explain the diffierences between so called 'Continental' philosophy and analytic philosophy. Russell and Russell's student Wittgenstein.Thus Hume tried to analyse the notion of causation by examining the ideas about causation that he had in his mind. As far as I can tell thereis not a single rule of syntax that all. the USA and other Englishspeaking countries. whereas linguistic philosophy uses the methods of linguistic analysis to try to solve traditional problems. In my experience. The primary thrust of Chomsky's work was and still is in the syntax of natural languages. And indeed it seems to me that a great deal of progress was in fact achieved in those decades. competent linguists are prepared to agree is a rule.or at least closely allied to the studyof literatureand literarytheory. What exactly are the rules by which humans construct sentences in the various natural languages? And what are the rules that are common to all natural languages. (1999) 2071 philosophers tend to be very much concerned with science and to see philosophy as aiming for exactly the same sort of objective truththat one gets in the sciences. phenomenology and its successorscan properlybe described as the more influential method of doing philosophy in certain European countries.but in Britain.is between those statementsthat describe states of affairsin the world and thus can be literallytrue or false. make statements. according to the theory. beginning in the late 1950s. a problem I mentionedearlier concerning the nature of causation was treated by 20thcentury philosophers as a matter of analysing the use of the concept of causation both in the sciences and in ordinary life. and.what the solid resultsof this revolutionare. One furtherfeature of 20th century philosophy needs to be mentioned.Lond. Much of of the optimism and self-confidence the period derived from the belief in two linguistic distinctions.such as statementsin logic and mathematics and such commonsense tautologies as All bachelors are unmarried'. The second distinction. etc. and those that serve to express our feelings. I believe that this has proven to be a failure. ofphilosophy R. Soc.and (ii) the distinctionbetween descriptive and evaluative utterances.Thefuture J.
and its endemic obsession with overcoming scepticism. Subsequent great philosophers. even though we can offerno justification for the assumptionswe make about the world.philosopherssuch as Russell. such as Locke. but in fact the central question of ethics in this epoch has been 'How can we have objective knowledge in ethics? How can we get the kind of epistemic certainty in our ethical judgements that we strive for in our scientific . All sorts of questions that were not regarded as really possible philosophical questions in the heyday of language analysis have now become possible. fromthe middle 17th to the late 20th century. time there is less confidence about the possibility of getting definitive solutions to traditional philosophical problemsusing the methods of linguisticanalysis. or even most.We just have to accept the limitations of our knowledge. B extent of human knowledge?' Hume ended up with a much more radical scepticism than Descartes ever envisaged. Philosophers aimed at the truth and so were not in the business of making evaluations or value judgements of any kind.Lond. but my interpretationof the present intellectual scene. general optimismthat we mightsolve all.was a failure. Analogously many philosophers thought that in order to understand empirical reality we had to reduce it to sensory experiences (phenomenalism). Kant read Hume and felt that it awakened him from his 'dogmatic slumber'. explicating puzzling philosophical concepts such as causation. I cannot overestimatethe extentto which the epistemic bias has infectedthe practice of philosophyfornearly 400 years. but at the same time. Confidence in these distinctions is now seriously weakened. The philosopher's task. but he feltthat we could live with this scepticism by adopting a completely naturalistic attitude toward ourselvesand the world. In the 20th century. like that of the logician and mathematician.To understanda phenomenonwe had to reduce it to simpler phenomena in the sense that we had to show how statementsabout the puzzling phenomenon could be logically derived from statementsabout epistemically simpler and more primitive phenomena. in common sense. recognize that we do not really know very much and go on as if we did know a great deal. it is much more interesting. I believe.as I have said. twin errors that pervaded philosophy and which I hope we have now overcome. in religion. The upshot is that than it was in the 1950s philosophy is less self-confident and 1960s. Spinoza and Kant. and I sincerelyhope.evidence and knowledge. But the truths of philosophy are not contingent synthetic truths of the sort one finds in the natural sciences either.but it too. philosophical problems using the methods of conceptual analysis has now abated. Searle Thefuture philosophy incidentsof crimes of violence have decreased in the last decade'. but Descartes' problem remained uppermost in their philosophical work. For those who accepted and they were the mainstreamviews in these distinctions. For the three centuries afterDescartes. an example of an evaluative statementwould be 'It is wrong to commit a crime'. question became central to the entire subject. Leibniz.So there were. Of course in philosophy nothing is ever finished once and for all. much of the point of the analysis of language and meaning was to explain and justify the notions of truth.R. You might think that the question 'How do we know?' would not figurelarge in these disciplines. descriptiveand evaluative. He made a heroic effortto overcome Hume's scepticism. and much of the optimismof the middle decades of the century derived from the conviction that philosophy now had a well-definedresearch project and welldefinedmethods forachieving results. Philosophy so construed is defined as conceptual analysis. the single greatestpreoccupation of philosopherswas with the problems of knowledge and scepticism. According to those who accepted this theory. This was nowhere more obvious than in the case of ethics and political philosophy. and not with knowledge and its justification. that this whole epoch has finallycome to an end. Though the primary thrust of their analyses was on language and meaning. Berkeley. felt that Descartes' attempt to answer scepticism was inadequate. Soc. in mathematics. for example. Descartes made epistemology the theory of knowledge central to philosophy. Descartes' question was 'How do you know?' and later Russell and Moore turned that into the question'What do you mean?' Nonetheless.is that we may simply relinquish our obsession with scepticism and get on with the more constructiveaspects of philosophy. the primary interestof philosophers was in language and meaning.in the sciences. The obsession with epistemology.Trans. For Descartes the primary question was what sort of solid foundational groundingcan we give to our claims to knowledge. etc. Thus many empirically minded philosophers thought that the only way to understand human mental states was to reduce them to behaviour (behaviourism).These are scepticismand an inappropriateextensionof reductionism. the middle decades of the century. whereas statements in ethics and aesthetics are evaluative because they are used to express feelingsand attitudes. (1999) R. Even in subjects that would appear to have only a the epistemic fairlyremote connection with epistemology.justice or truthitself. and my hope for the next century. but which in the end may be its most important result. In short. Telling people how to live is not thejob of the professionalphilosopher. A natural consequence of the obsession with epistemologywas to see the solution to the sceptical problem in reductionism. in my view.and to guide behaviour rather than to state facts. led to a second feature of philosophy in the three centuries after Descartes.of 2072 J. His truths are conceptual. took the main question of philosophy to be 'What is the nature and Phil. the distinctions defined the nature of philosophy. and I will But at the same say somethingmore about these shortly. knowledge. Language does not seem so neat or simple that we can divide utterances into these simple categories of analytic and synthetic. Hume. There is another important development of 20thcentury philosophy that I am less confidentabout. Wittgenstein and Austin devoted a great deal of intellectual effort to trying to overcome scepticism using linguistic methods.statements in the sciences and mathematics are descriptivebecause theydescribe mattersof objectivefact. Locke. I think.They are necessary analytic truthsabout concepts. For many philosophers real progress required logical reduction. In part because of a loss of confidencein the adequacy of these the distinctions. Moore.is to state necessary analytic truths. The descriptive class includes both analytic and synthetic statements.
Searle judgements?' It did not even seem possible to our philosophical parents and grandparentsthat there could be a more fundamentalquestion in ethics than this one. but it certainlyis where I am in my own intellectual development. Wittgen21st-century stein. since we use experimentsand meter readings to test our knowledge of the physical universe. On my interpretation the contemporary of philosophical scene.Trans. the result of philosophical analysis of ethical discourse was sceptical. of course. in my view.It is as if knowledge in physicswere supposed to be knowledge entirely experiof ments and meter readings. political justice. I am not certain that this is where we are. According to this view it is impossible to have objective knowledge in ethics because ethical statementscannot be objectively true or false.but to overcome it in such a way that we can go on to deal with the problems at hand. (a) The traditional mind-body problem I begin with the traditional mind-body problem.one of the most importantphilosophersof the 20th centurythoughtthat general theories in philosophy were impossible. and I will have more to say about it in the next section. Frege did not have primarily epistemicworries about meaning. scepticism has finallyceased to be a primaryconcern of philosophers.but it is an errorthat continues to this day. In some cases I feel confidentenough to make some guesses about what I think will happen.and reductionismhas in general failed. that the facts about meaning were entirely constituted by the evidence we could have about meaning. about which I will say more later. for those who accepted the distinctionbetween descriptive and evaluative. but his followersin the 20th centuryturned questions about meanings into questions about knowledge of meanings. What I will. It looks similar to such problems as 'How exactly do biochemical processes at the level of cells cause cancer?' and 'How exactly does the genetic structureof a zygote produce the phenotypicaltraitsof a mature organism?' However. that is not at all an easy thing to do in itself. and discuss their present status and futureprospects. The single most important obstacle to getting a solution to the traditional mind-brain problem is the . so political philosophy fell into the doldrums because of the same sort of scepticism.. there are a number of purely philosophical obstacles to gettinga satisfactory neurobiological solution to the problem of consciousness. therefore. SIX PROBLEM AREAS Because of the nature of the subject. I do not believe it is possible to project a futurecourse of philosophy with anything like the confidence that one can project the futurecourse of the sciences though.Lond. since we use circumstances in which they utter expressions as evidence to make judgements about what they mean. rationality. Meaning is analysed completely into the sorts of evidence that hearers can have about what the speaker means.The situationwe are in is somewhat analogous to the situationof the Greeks at the time of the transition from Socrates and Plato to Aristotle.This was. Soc. Political philosophy was revolutionizedand revitalized by the publication ofJohnRawls's A theogy ofjustice (1972). constructive. by helping to clear the field of did as much as anybody to sceptical worriesWittgenstein make general philosophical theoriespossible. ofphilosophy R. but the key to understandingthe very nature of meaning.thislooks like an empirical scientific problem. and indeed several neurobiologists are doing precisely that. theoretical philosophy. a disastrous error.for example? And the answer to this question is. mind. the question is how exactly do neurobiological processes in the brain cause conscious states and processes.I think we now have the tools to move into a version of an Aristotelian phase. because I believe it is the contemporary philosophical problem most amenable to scientific solution: What exactly are the relations between consciousness and the brain? It seems to me the neurosciences have now progressed to the point that we can address this as a straight neurolobiological problem. Indeed. The question again was 'How can we be certain. There is an entire movement in the philosophy of language that thinksthe central question is: What sort of evidence does a hearer have when he attributesmeaning to a speaker of a language? What sort of evidence do I have that when you utter the word 'rabbit' you mean what I mean by 'rabbit'. The way to deal with scepticismis not to try to refuteit on its own terms. Socrates and Plato took scepticism very seriously and struggled with piecemeal issues. I have a specific intellectual objective in making the proposal that we should abandon scepticism and reductionism. Phil. I believe we cannot get a satisfactory constructive analysis of language. (1999) 2073 phenomena. taken to be not merelyan epistemicpoint about how we decide questions of meaning. I believe this view is as mistaken in the philosophy of language as it is in the sciences and philosophygenerally. Many influentialphilosophers have thought that the epistemic question already gave us an answer to the ontological question. I believe this epistemicbias is nothingless than the philosophical error of our epoch. 3.Thefuture J. In its simplest form. in others I can only make critical remarks and expressions of hope forfutureresearchin the coming decades. Aristotle did not regard the sceptical paradoxes as a serious threat to his overall enterpriseof attempting to do systematic. Paradoxically.do here is take about a half a dozen areas of philosophical investigationwhich are very much alive at the present moment. until we abandon our obsession with the idea that the presuppositionof all investigation first is to provide a justificationforthe very possibilityof knowledge. society. etc. and I have to devote some space at least to tryingto remove some of the worst of these obstacles. Analogously. Nowhere was the epistemic bias more blatant than in the philosophyof language. and how exactly are those conscious states and processes realized in the brain? So stated. and that real advances in philosophical knowledge in general require the reduction of higher-level phenomena to more epistemically fundamental B R. it is equally a mistake to suppose that factsabout meaning are factsabout circumstancesin which people utter expressions. As I said earlier. A similar epistemic bias affectedpolitical philosophy. how can we have epistemic objectivityabout our political judgements and our claims of political obligation?' Just as ethics was afflictedwith a form of scepticism. again in my view mistakenly.
opinions or prejudices of the agents investigating question. there can be no such thing as a science of consciousness.We cannot get any statements from the animal about its conscious states. but I think this is a real difficulty. I call this distinction B R. We have no way of observingblack holes. As long as we continue to talk and think as if the mental and the physical were separate metaphysical realms. which I will call the epistemological sense. and all the featuresof the world.if we could find the NCC for even one building block.we should think of our conscious fieldas made up of various building blocks. the stream of thought. Searle Thefuture ofphilosophy in modes of existence. such as the NCC for colour vision.it seems to me doubtfulas a way to proceed in the presentsituation. and avoids anything that is 'subjective'. such as human consciousness.feelthe ings. strictlyspeaking.By tradition. so we need a similar conceptual change to of break the bifurcation mental and physical. If I say. encountered by a science of subjecAnother difficulty in tivity is the difficulty verifyingclaims about human and animal consciousness.such as mountains and molecules. Just as Einstein made a between space conceptual change to break the distinction and time. Science is not used to dealing with phenomena that have a first-person ontology.because we have to rely on just the animal's behaviour in response to stimuli. If I say 'Rembrandt was a better painter than Rubens'. Nonetheless.This whole argument rests on a massive confusion. that statementis epistemicallyobjective in the sense that it can be established as true or false independentlyof the attitudes. R. that we are not worried about the and that we are problem of objectivityand subjectivity. But in addition to the distinction between epistemically objective and between entitiesin subjectiveclaims. I would point out that it is no more an obstacle in principle than the difficulties encountered in other formsof scientificinvestigation where we have to rely on indirectmeans of verifying our claims.such as pains and tickles.There is a certain persistenceof a set of traditionalbut obsolete categories of mind and body. we have no way of directly observing atomic and subatomic particles. then. on the building-block theory. from quarks and electrons to nation-states and ways. that would in all likelihood give us a clue to the building blocks for the other sensory modalities and for the stream of thought. because consciousness is subjective. and stick with any weapon that seems to work. we are in an even worse situation.which is one of the most persistent confusionsin our intellectual civilization. but is a matterof subjectiveopinion. and they conduct their investigation accordingly. need to expose. for example. I said above that the essence of consciousness was subjectivity. Science is indeed epistemically objective in the sense attemptto establishtruthsthat can be verithat scientists fied independentlyof the attitudes and prejudices of the scientists. that claim is not a matter of objective knowledge. to tion of the relation of neuron firings consciousness. and several prominentphilosophers think it is impossible for us to understand the relations of mind to brain.Thus there is no objection in principle to having an epistemically objective science of an ontologically subjective domain.objective. our only conclusive evidence for the presence and nature of consciousness is what the subject says and does.Trans. the relation of the brain to consciousness will foreverseem explanaand we will not have a satisfactory mysterious. Nonetheless. in theirdifferent part of that one world.The notions of both mental and physical as theyare traditionallydefined need to be abandoned. matter and spirit. an 'I'. Related to the difficulty broughtabout by accepting the traditional categories is a straightlogical fallacy that I subjective. there is a distinction the world that have an objective existence. auditory experience. by definition. In one sense. and entities that have a subjective existence. balance of paymentsproblemsare.The first step on the road to philosophical and scientific progress in these areas is to forgetabout the tradition of Cartesian dualism and just remind ourselves that mental phenomena are ordinary biological phenomena in the or same sense as photosynthesis digestion. in the sense that fora conscious state to exist it has to be experienced by some conscious subject. (1999) . Soc. The task of a scientifictheory of consciousness would be to findthe neurobiological correlate of consciousness (nowadays called the NCC) and. I find it truly amazing that the obsolete categories of mind and matter continue to impede progress. Many scientistsfeel that they can only investigatethe 'physical' realm and are reluctant to face consciousness on its own termsbecause it seems not to be physical but to be 'mental'. and subjectsare notoriouslyunreliable. prepared to seek indirect methods of verification of hypotheses concerning consciousness. Indeed. mental and physical. does not make a science of consciousness impossible. in real sciences methodological questions always have the same answer. and the difficulties verifyinghypotheses in hypoththese areas should give us a model for verifying eses in the area of the studyof human and animal subjecThe 'privacy' of human and animal consciousness tivity. by definition. tactile experience. as we reconcile ourselves to the fact that we live in one world. This research programme may turn out to be rightin the end. Phil.To find out how the world works. for the following reason.We must stop worryingabout how the brain couldcause consciousness and begin with the plain fact that it does. many philosophers and scientists feel that because science is. Assuming.But epistemic objectivityof method does not preclude ontological subjectivityof subject matter.2074 J. 'Rembrandt was born in 1606'. On the building-block theory. In the case of animals. In the case of humans.science deals with phenomena that are 'objective'.Lond. how should we research today into the problem proceed? Most scientific of consciousness seems to me to be based on a mistake. who has the conscious experience. and indeed. you have to use any weapon you can lay your hands on. As far as 'methodology' is concerned. there is a distinctionbetween objective knowledge and subjectivemattersof opinion. such as visual experience.etc. unless we perform experiments on ourselves individually. adopt what I The scientistsin question characteristically will call the building-block theory of consciousness. There are two quite distinct senses of the distinctionbetween objective and subjective. Consciousness is. accounts of these we have quite well-establishedscientific in domains. the ontological sense of the objective-subjectivedistinction. Consciousness in ontologyin that it only exists this sense has a first-person fromthe point of view of a human or animal subject.
. it is a necessary and aspect.such as epistemology. and because we also have good evidence that consciousness exists in both hemispheres.there must be some other featureof the systemthat is being appealed to. which is the presuppositionof having any conscious experience in the firstplace. and these are caused by quite specific neurobiological processes in the brain.'Intentionality'is a technical term used by philosophers to referto all of those mental phenomena that referto. Now. feelings. of an object. but two aspects of the same feature. We do not perceive just the colouror the shape. but rather as a unified field. or are about.We know from mathematical results that any functionthat is computable at all is computable on a universal Turing machine. we perceive all of these simultaneously in a unified. consistingof Phil. But I do not see how the introductionof the connectionist The problem is that any argumentsmakes any difference. of perception and intentionalityof intentional action and thought. etc.Intending is just one kind of intentionalityamong others. objects and states of affairsin the world. First. ofphilosophy R. anthropologists and computer scientists.intentions(in the ordinarysense). etc. perceptions. conscious field. and in some cases even as branches of. The subjectivity of consciousness implies unity. or background.Lond. Soc.There is nothingnecessarilyfatal about founding an academic subject on a mistake. Second. taste. linguists. that being the case.These. indeed.it has become more and more obvious to a lot of philosophersthat our understandingof the issues in a lot of subjects the nature of meaning. on the other hand. Several other important branches of philosophy. In the case of cognitive science the mistake was to suppose that the brain is a digital computer and the mind is a computerprogram.because they have several different computational processes acting in parallel and interacting with each other.which operates in parallel .is thatconscious states alwayscome to us in a unified form. I demonstratedthis years ago with the so-called Chinese Room Argument.but the simplestis to point out that the implemented computer program is definedentirelyin terms of symbolic or syntactical processes. 'Intentionality'so defined has no special connectionwith intendingin the ordinarysense in which I intend to go to the movies tonight.desires.desires and intentions. There are a number of ways to demonstratethat this is a mistake. for was founded on alchemy. cognitive science was founded on a mistake. qualitative feelto everyconsciousstate. as far as I can tell. they contain actual mental states with semantic content in the form of thoughts. For example. A very curious thing has happened in the past two or threedecades the philosophyof mind has moved to the centre of philosophy. though the connectionist systems can be made to work faster. The basic subject matter of cognitive science is intentionality in all of its forms. but rather what I will call the basal. (1999) R.. linguistic representationis a vastly more powerfulextension of the more basic mental representations such as beliefs. 'connectionism'. We should think of my present conscious field not as made up of various building blocks. are now treated as dependent on.metaphysics. if we claim superiority for the connectionistsystem. This includes not only the traditional mind-body problem. the rise of the new discipline of cognitive science has opened to philosophy whole areas of research into human cognition in all its forms. intentional actions and emotions.I think what we should look for now is the kind of neurobiological processes that will produce a unified field of consciousness. My hypothesis. sound. B philosophers who objected to the persistence of behaviourism in psychology.I believe the most active and fruitful general area of research today in philosophy is in the general cognitivescience domain. conscious experience.together with like-minded cognitive psychologists. subjective. Chemistry. and that we should instead look for the correlate of the unified field of consciousnessin massive synchronizedpatternsof neuron firing. Minds. In that sense no new computational capacity is added by the connectionist architecture.Because the computational powers of the connectionist systemare no greater than the traditional Von Neumann system.Trans.One aspectof thissubjectivity.They are not two separate features.then. are likely to be for the most part in the thalamocortical system. Cognitive science was invented by an interdisciplinary group. the philosophy of action and even the philosophy of language. the philosophy of mind. computation that can be carried out on a connectionist program can also be carried out on a traditional Von Neumann system. now it is the philosophy of mind.However. indeed many disciplines were founded on mistakes.Thefuture J. sometimes also called would answer the objections I just stated. but the whole conglomeration of problems dealing with the nature of mind and consciousness. is that looking forthe NCCs of building blocks is barking up the wrong tree. rationality and language in general presupposes an understanding of the most fundamentalmental processes. Searle 2075 sound. Intentionality so definedincludes at least beliefs. Some people think that the introduction of computers that use parallel distributed processing (PDP). There are a number of reasons forthis change. the way language representsrealityis dependent on the more biologically fundamental ways in which the mind represents reality and.memories. Because we have pretty good evidence from lesion studies that consciousness is not distributed over the entire brain. contain more than symbolic or syntactical components. independent of the physics of the hardware. which is modified in specific ways by the various stimuli that I and other human beings receive. but two stand out. example. Whereas 50 years ago the philosophy of language was considered 'firstphilosophy'. The mind could not consist in a program because the syntactical operations of the program are not by themselves sufficient guarantee the semantic contents to of actual mental processes. known collectively as the philosophy of mind. Paradoxically. a persistent adherence to the mistake is at best inefficient and an obstacle to progress. it seems to me the NCC we are looking for is not the NCC for the various building blocks of colour. But the only other feature of the connectionist systemwould have to be in the hardware implementation. or the (b) The philosophy of mind and cognitive science The mind-body problem is one part of a much broader set of issues. A debate continues about this and other versions of the computational theory of the mind.
The geologist is interested in such things as tectonic plates.As we come to understand more about the operations of the brain it seems to me that we will succeed in gradually replacing computational cognitive science with cognitive neuroscience.Lond. for example. I welcome this development. (c) The philosophy of language I said that the philosophyof language was the centre of philosophy for most of the 20th century. Soc. Very young children apparently have a different conception of the relation of belief to truthfromthat which adults have.the more successfulbranches of the philosophyof language are now passing into the science of linguistics. First. But in some cases it seems we are forcedto make conceptual revisions. but are engaging in neurobiological speculation. and analogously should use any epistemic method that comes to hand to tryto figureout how these phenomena work in the minds of actual speakers and hearers. Searle Thefuture ofphilosophy remarked. I have thoughtfor a long time that the commonsense conception of memory as a storehouse of previous experience and knowledge is both psychologically and biologically inadequate. and my point in raising them here is to call attentionto the factthat once we have removed the philosophical error of supposing that the brain is a digital computer. Another set of philosophical problems arises when we begin to examine the relationshipsbetween the developmental evidence regarding mental phenomena and the mental phenomena as they occur in mature adults. My impression is that contemporaryresearch bears me out on this. How seriously should we take these differences?Do we need to enrich our theory of intentionality incorporby ating the developmental data? We do not yet know the answer to any of these questions. led some prominentphilosophersto try to give an analysis of meaning according to which the hearer is engaged in an epistemic task of tryingto figureout what the speaker means either by looking at his behaviour in response to stimulusor by looking at the conditionsunder which he would hold a sentence to be true. What we are interestedin is what are the factswhich are known. For reasons that should be clear by now.etc. truth.and in some cases even behaviourism.they tend to be thoughtof as more scientific and less philosophical. I said earlier that Frege was the founderof the philosophyof language.R. I welcome this development.Trans. (1999) R. Less is happening in the philosophy of language now than in the philosophy of mind. during the first three-quarters of the 20th century. and will use any method that comes to hand to tryto findout how these phenomena work. Perhaps the concept of iconic memory is already passing into the general speech of educated people. In short. where I explained that as areas of investigation arrive at established methodologies for their research. Thus. The idea is that if we could describe how the hearer solves the epistemic problemwe will therebyanalyse meaning. annual meetings. This work. but Frege had a conception of meaning that placed the meanings of words inside the heads of the speakers of a language. for example.reference and necessity. we still have to deal with a numberof philosophical questions. I believe. Why? There are many reasons of which I will mentiononly three. sedimentation and rock layers. and no doubt as our investigation proceeds. The sortof researchthat I and othersdid 30 years ago on the theory of speech acts and on the use of language is now becoming a part of linguistics called 'pragmatics'. we will have further distinctions. is going nowhere.upstairs into the social sciences. Indeed I believe this transformation already is taking place. Frege was anxious to insistthat these meanings were not psychologicalentities.this part of the philosophy of language is gradually being kicked out of philosophy.but he did thinkthat they could be grasped by speakers and hearers of a language.with its own journals. Second. one of the main research programmes in the fromthe epistemic obsesphilosophy of language suffers sion that I have been castigating. But as the century comes to an end that is changing. But if we claim that the connectionist architecture rather than connectionist computationsare responsibleformental processes.the philosophyof language was taken to be 'first philosophy'. A commitment to a certain formof empiricism. we do not make a major shiftin our concept of memory when we introduce the sorts of distinctionsthat neurobiological investigationhas made apparent to us. as I Phil. We now in popular speech distinguish between short-term and long-term memory. With this hypothesis we have abandoned the computational theoryof the mind in favourof speculative neurobiology. which has its own corner in linguistics. For example. because its obsession with how we know what a speaker means obscures the distinctionbetween how the hearer knows what the speaker means and what it is that the hearer knows. B .We have to have a conception of memoryas a creative process rather than simply a retrievalprocess. Indeed. What is actually happening in cognitive science is a paradigm shift away from the computational model of the mind and towards a much more neurobiologically based conception of the mind. to what extentwill an increased understanding of brain operations force us to make conceptual revisions in our commonsense vocabulary for describing mental processes as they occur in thought and action? In the simplest and easiest cases we can simply assimilate the cognitiveneuroscience discoveriesto our existingconceptual apparatus. and to a much lesser extent are we interestedin the question of how we come to know these facts. Some philosophers think even more radical revisionsthan this will be forcedupon us by the neurobiological discoveriesof the future. Frege thought that communication in a public language rather then in series. The philosopher of language is interestedin meaning. in geology. and once we have a more mature and sophisticatedcognitive neuroscience. we are no longer advancing the computational theory of the mind. and I believe that some of the currentlymost influentialresearch programmes have reached a kind of dead end. and I believe that it is an example of the sort of phenomenon that I described in the early part of this article. I think that epistemology plays the same role in the philosophy of language as it does. I think the greatest source of weakness in the philosophy of language is that its currentlymost influential research project is based on a mistake. Advances in cognitive neuroscience are likely to create more philosophical problems than they solve. Finally.2076 J.
It would deal with more general frameworkquestions. was created largely in response to developments in mathematical logic and work on the foundations of mathematics.Trans. for example the concepts of the social contract or the class struggle. Thus we are quite sophisticated in abstract theories of justice. But when it comes to political science. and human agents in general. and with developing criteriaforassessing thejustice or injusticeof institutions. Soc. for example. means what it does to me not because I have some mental content associated with that word.which stands to social sciences in the same way that the philosophy of mind stands to psychology and cognitive science. (1999) R.I believe that in our study of political and social reality. as I mentioned. (d) The philosophy of society It is characteristic the historyof philosophythat new of branches of the subject are created in response to intellectual developmentsboth inside and outside of philosophy.So.revolutionizedthe studyof political philosophy with his classic work A theory justice (Rawls of 1972). I attempted to begin this research project in The constructionsocialreality of (Searle 1995). the categories traditionallydo not rise much above the level of journalism. for example.we need a set of concepts that will enable us to describe political and social reality. but the belief in the basic mechanism of socialist change. you read a work in political science as recent as 20 years old.forexample. for most political scientistsit would be very difficult attempt to analyse to . but the failure of democratic socialism as it existed in the countries of Western Europe. etc.namely the nature of explanation in the social sciences and the relation of social philosophy to political philosophy. you will find that much of the discussion is out of date. This view is called 'externalism'. Searle was possible only because there is an ontologically objective realm of meanings.and it is usually opposed to the traditional view. what I will call a philosophy of society. I believe. Thus. What we require in order to resolve the dispute between internalistsand externalistsis a more sophisticated notion of how the mental contents in speakers' heads serve to relate language in particular. How is it possible that human beings. to the real world of objects and states of affairs. It is characteristic of the social parts of philosophy that we tend to construe social philosophyas eithera branch of political philosophy.thus the expression'social and political philosophy'. because such external phenomena could not function to relate language to the world in the way that meanings do relate words and reality. My prediction is that no one will ever be able to give a satisfactory account of meanings as something external to the head. government. who.so to speak from the 'middle distance'.. for example. and that the same meaning can be grasped equally by both speaker and hearer. the nature of these causal chains.Thefuture J. called 'internalism'. When I talk of the failure of socialism.Lond. I think the leading political event of the 20th centurywas the failureof ideologies such as those of Fascism and communism. or the philosophy of language stands to linguistics. and in particular the failure of socialism in its different and various forms. I think we need much more work on questions of the ontology of social reality. So the word 'water'. just as the philosophy of natural sciences is a branch of the philosophy of science. namely the public ownership and control of the means of production.marriage. but at the same time would enable us to ask and answer specific questions about specific political realities and institutionsin a way that traditional political philosophy was unable to do. games.if. wars. Therefore. In particular.then the failureof socialism so definedis the single most importantsocial developmentof the 20th century. Thus. What is the correct philosophical analysis of this entire phenomenon ? A similar sort of question would be the appraisal of national institutions. The problem with this research project is that nobody has ever been able to explain. The socialist parties of those countries continued to use the vocabulary of socialism. ofphilosophy R. with any plausibility whatever.The interestingthing fromthe point of view of the presentanalysis is that we lack the categories in which to pose and answer questions dealing with the failure of socialism. A similar evolution has occurred in the philosophy of mind. A number of authors have attacked this conception. when such entitiesin some sense exist only by virtue of a collecPhil. or they tend to be essentially journalistic. The idea that meanings are somethingexternal to the mind is widely accepted. through their social interactions can create an objective social reality of money. What we need. Much of the progressin this area is owed toJohn Rawls. I am proposing that we should have a social philosophy. in the early part of the 20th century the philosophy of language in the sense in which we now use that expression.and should certainlytry to develop. apparently has been quietly abandoned. If by 'socialism' we mean state ownership and control of the basic means of production.will naturally fall into place. property. I am referring not only to the failure of Marxist socialism. Specifically. Externalism has led to an extensive research project of tryingto describe the nature of the causal relations that give rise to meaning. as in traditional political philosophy. is to develop a set of categories that would enable us to appraise social reality in a way which would be more abstract than that of day-today political journalism. but no one has ever been able to give a coherent account of meaning in these terms. I would like to propose that in the 21st century we will feel a pressing need for. but ratherbecause there is a causal chain connecting me to various actual examples of water in the world.It is an amazing fact that that development remains unanalysed and is seldom discussed by the political and social philosophersof our time. They believe that meaning is a matter of causal relations between the utterancesof words and objects in the world. for example.or we tend to construe social philosophyas a studyof the philosophy of the social sciences. The problem that we have in attemptingto cope with social realityis that our concepts are either immensely abstract. B 2077 tive agreement or a belief that they exist? How is it possible that there can be an objective social reality that existsonly because we thinkit exists? When questions of social ontology have been properly sorted out it seems to me that the questions of social philosophy. dealing with day-to-day questions of policy and power relations.
in a way that would enable us to make countries and comparativejudgements between different larger societieswithout. Kuhn argues that if you look at the actual history of science. political parties. I am not sure what the reasons forthe change are. The way out of important differences the impasse.as a successor to ethics as it was traditionallyconstrued. with the nature of scientific was devoted to overcoming various sceptical paradoxes. and yet the way they operate is inherentlycorrupt.and the chiefissue in the philosophy of science had to do with the nature of their testingand The prevailing orthodoxy. you discover that it is not a gradual progressiveaccumulation of knowledge about the world.Most political scientists. because it is not strictly speaking about the philosophyof science. I think. scienare true or false.Trans.corruptionand general dreadfulnessof the political institutionsof several contemporary nation given theircommitmentto states. is not an accumulation of truths about nature. had to do science. rather. I believe. at least forthe first and much effort verification. The scientistsformed the hypothesis. and then testedthose consequences in the formof experiments. the middle decades of the century.or even as a gradual progressionthrough the accumulation of so far unrefuted hypotheses. These laws statedvery general truthsabout scientific the nature of reality. The comfortableorthodoxyof science as an accumulation of truths. B R. so ethics The principal was obsessed by the question of objectivity.2078 J. The traditional view in analytic philosophy was that ethical objectivity was impossible.We can discuss these at institutions a very abstract level.as it developed in verification. I believe. analytic and synthetic aimed tion of the philosophyof science was that scientists contingenttruthsin the formof universal to get synthetic laws. Most scientists do not. I do not believe these effortswill succeed. There is no 'scientific method' for arriving at hypotheses.and the limited categories at their disposal.all that we have in the sciences are a series of so far unrefutedhypotheses. scientificobjectivity. (1999) .at the same time. a number of attemptsto revive Kant's doctrine of the categorical imperative.is not somesuppositionof most actual scientific thingthat is consistentwith Popper's conception.Throughout most of the 20th century the philosophy of science was conditioned by the belief in the distinction between The standard conceppropositions.not surprisingly. such as the traditional problem of induction. (e) Ethics and practical reason For much of the 20th centurythe subject of ethics was dominated by a version of the same scepticism that has affectedother branches of philosophy for several centuries. But I would like an expanded social philosophy which would provide us as with the tools foranalysing social institutions theyexist in real societies. cannot even attempt to describe how dreadful many countries are.The Armatya Sen is a step work of the economist-philosopher in this direction. to try to show that ethical statements are true or false in a way that. because there are clearly tificstatements between the two. I think more or less independently. But the idea that the scientist aims aftertruth. R. but made substantive (f) The philosophy of science the philosophy In the 20th century. etc. was challenged by the publication of Thomas Kuhn's Structure in revolutions 1962. Popper was the idea that science proceeds by acts of originalityand imagination. Searle Thefuture ofphilosophy but my impression is that. tion.and that in various sciences we actually have an accumulation of truths.etc. more than any other single factor. which I think is the preresearch. The scientisthas to form a hypothesison the basis of his own imagination and guesswork. is to see that ethics is really a branch of a much more interestingsubject of practical What is the nature of rationalityin reason and rationality. The chief questions in the philosophy of half of the century. issue in ethics was about whether or not there could be epistemic objectivity in ethics. I think. Just as the philosophy of language was damaged by the urge to treat the users of language as essentially researchers engaged in an epistemic task of trying to figureout what a speaker of a language means. of science shared the epistemic obsession with the rest of philosophy. is a more fruitful the traditionalapproach of worryingabout the objectivity of ethical statements. Many countries have apparently such as a writtenconstitudesirable political institutions. general and what is it to act rationallyon a reason foran approach than action? This.The procedure of the scientistis then to test the hypothesis by performing experiments and reject those hypothesesthat have been refuted.Rawls's work not only revived political philosophy ethics seem possible as well. was that science proceeded by somethingcalled the 'hypothetico-deductive method'. and Rawls and others have provided us with the tools to do so.. I think. realize how antiscientific Popper's views actually are. but than their success or failureis the much more interesting fact that ethics as a substantivebranch of philosophyfreedfromits epistemic obsession to finda formof objectivity and the inevitable scepticism when the quest for objectivity fails seems now to have become possible again. to admire Popper's views. Karl Popper and Carl Gustav Hempel. Soc. that you could not in Hume's phrase derive an 'ought' from an 'is'. risingto such a level of abstraction that we cannot make specific value judgements about specific institutional structures. tended.This conception was by articulated. The way out of the sterility of these debates is not.Lond. Something like the study of rationality. but functioned only to express feelings or to try to influence behaviour. for example. free elections. Kant thought that the nature of rationality itself set certain formal constraints on what could count as an ethically acceptable reason for an action. It is puzzling that Kuhn's of scientific book should have had the dramatic effectthat it did. and consequently ethical statementscould not literallybe eithertrue or false. Currentlythere are. and the scientistdoes not arrive at truthsabout nature. but about the history of science. Those practising scientistswho took an interestin the philosophy of science at all.where entire world views when an existingparadigm is overthrown are overthrown the backwardness. seems to be already happening. On Popper's science conception of science and the activityof scientists. for example. deduced logical consequences fromit. but much of their admiration was based What I think they admired in on a misunderstanding. but that science is subject to periodic massive revolutions. Phil.
but gives us a series of ways of solving puzzles. effects otherquestions.Zeno's paradoxes about space and time. of to give an accountof the results quantummechanics to quantummechanics a thatwill enableus to assimilate thatin the courseof coherent overallworldview.J.paradoxically. Most philosophers. I am thinking especially of quantum mechanics.and then abandon these in favour of other theories.but ratherfor reasons that are in greateror lesser degree irrational. and what I hope we will dedicate our efforts in the 21stcentury.it is muchtalent. the interestingthing about Kuhn's book is that he seems to imply that we are not closer to the truth about nature in getting progressively the natural sciences. I believe. in regarded the same way as othersuch paradoxeshave been regarded in the historyof philosophy. that are geniusesalive today. Phil.I think crucial we thisproject are goingto have to revisecertain is and thisrevision of suchas thenotion causation. and their relation to such fundamental physical constants as the speed of light. I think that we can absorb relativitytheory more or less comfortably because it can be construed as an extension of our traditional Newtonian conception of the world.and thatcauseand effect deterministic ofstrict mechanin standto each other thekindofsimple relations of ical relations gear wheelsmovingothergear wheels.But whether not the that I is phenomenon general. we stillhave not abstract a with moresophisconception our replaced commonsense thatthemostexciting I scientific conception. to 'debunk' it.forreasons that have nothingto do with giving an accurate description of an independentlyexistingnatural reality. because it seemed to argue that science gives us no more truth about the real world than do works of literary fictionor literarycriticism. because it has served to 'demythologize'science. like most educated people today. think ticated of philosophy science. especially those connected with the study of literature. which again sets offa new round of puzzle-solving activity. largelya history the worksof a geniuses. We phenomena. believethat. (1999) 2079 causal laws. Kuhn's book was but it had an not much welcomed by practisingscientists.Plato and numberof towering of results and to Aristotle.and thisis taskof the 21st-century would be and for something both scientists philosophers.I think the essential problem is this: 20th-centuryscience has radically challenged a set of very pervasive. forexample. and we simply have not yet digested it.we are just gettinga series of puzzlesolving mechanisms. truths about the world. to or for figure a fewfigures dominate impossible a single in up thefield a waythatwas possible untiltheearlypart a I thereare probably number of the 20thcentury. though not on the practices of real scientists. that science is essentiallyan irrational operation where groups of scientists form theories which are more or less arbitrary social constructs. Searle by a new scientific paradigm. successfully the21st continue EPISTEMOLOGY 4. on goingto have veryimportant determinism free and such as the questionsconcerning will.Trans. a series of ways of dealing with puzzling problems within a paradigm.Lond. including physicists in interest the philosophyof science. It is characteristic of Kuhn's book that he implies.thebiggest kind has been the obsession theoretical of a systematic I with epistemology. have not so far given us a coherentaccount of how quantum mechanics fitsinto our overall conception of the universe. has been unfortunate. believe that his effect general culture. We simply have to revise our ideas of space and time. believe that epistemicproblems. have a conception of causation that is a mixture of common sense and Newtonian mechanics. pose interesting puzzles. sense theresimply no towering thanour is This.talented small numberof people to be recognizedas standing above all theothers. Thefuture ofphilosophy R. on I Whatever Kuhn's intentions. notions. the contrary. am quite confident thisis the true of philosophy: sheer numberof hard-working. though as far as I know he that the scientistdoes not give us does not state explicitly.From the point of view of this discussion. I regard it as a scandal with an that philosophers of science. In myview. knowat some and othersuchNewtonian but levelthatthatis not right. notdominated a tinynumber overpowering by seemsto be enterprise as is thatphilosophy a cooperative been in the past. and we simply have not digested the results of these scientific advances. science is no better than witchcraft.The scientistessentiallymoves from one paradigm to another.FromSocrates. It is morepossiblethanit has typically on quite possibleforpeople working a commonset of theoas to enterprise one ofadvancing problems see their in retical understanding a givendomain. at 'How is it possiblethatwe can have knowledge all in shouldbe the lightof the variousscepticalparadoxes?'.which are likewise arbitrarysocial constructs. Soc. to prove that it is not what ordinary people have supposed it to be. My own view is that these issues are entirelyperipheral to what we ought to be worried about in the philosophy to of science. it is overthrownand a new paradigm is erected in its place.and it has been thethemeofthisarticleto singleobstacleto progress expoundthatview. But quantum mechanics really does provide a basic challenge to our world view. notbecausewe havelesstalent I On predecessors.the reason why thereare no recognizedgeniuses today is simplythat thereare more good philosophers is werein thepast. and I hope it will in century. for makesit impossible a in figures thefield able.the chief In are philosophy in the worksof its greatfigures.Becausethere so alive now thanthere and so muchgood workis beingdone. Philosophers tend to suppose that causal relations are always instances B R. it is described thestanof is dard textbooks. Kuhn paved the way forthe even more radical sceptical view of Paul Feyerabend. head and shoulders in whichis One of themanyadvantages havinga field of figures. particularly as regards to causation and determinacy. enormous effect on several humanities disciplines. Wittgenstein Russell. powerful philosophical and common sense assumptions about nature. CONCLUSION: OVERCOMING in as of The history philosophy. but no one supposes that we cannot seriously attempt to cross a room until we have firstanswered Zeno's scepticismabout the possibilityof moving through . think of other fields like philosophyin this respect the apparentshortageof geniusesis the resultof a surplus or of ratherthan a deficit talent. who argued that as far as giving us truthsabout the world is concerned. And when the paradigm reaches puzzles that it cannot solve. This workhas alreadybegun.
Trans. 1980 Minds. 1995 Theconstruction ofsocialreality.2080 J. Soc. That is. 417-457.Cambridge. I cannot. B Phil. R. ChicagoPress. of course. R. . Searle Thefuture ofphilosophy greater theoretical understandingand more constructive theoreticalaccounts than we have had at any time in the past historyof the subject. 1962 Structure scientific of revolutions. York:The FreePress. Rawls. Searle. that with the abandonment of the epistemic bias in the philosophy of language. predict what is going to happen in the 21st century. R. Brain Sci. Behav.brainsand programs. and I thinkat this stage in our intellectual historyit is a well-foundedhope.but I can express the hope. we should have the same attitude towards the paradoxes about the possibility of knowledge that were advanced by sceptical philosophers. Analogously. and they provide good five-finger exercisesfortrainingyoung philosophers.MA: Harvard of University Press. but we should not suppose that the possibilityof knowledge and understanding rests on our firstbeing able to refute Hume's scepticism. 3. space.J.J. New Searle. the philosophyof mind. K. (1999) R. these are interestingpuzzles. I believe. J.Lond. 1972 A theory justice. ethics. we may achieve REFERENCES University of Kuhn. political philosophy and the philosophy of science.
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