Synthetic Philosophy

Catarina Dutilh Novaes

Daily Nous


“Schliesser presented synthetic philosophy as “a style of philosophy that brings together insights, knowledge, and arguments from the special sciences with the aim to offer a coherent account of complex systems and connect these to a wider culture or other philosophical projects (or both). Synthetic philosophy may, in turn, generate new research in the special sciences…””

“The idea that there need not be strict disciplinary boundaries between philosophy and other disciplines enjoyed some popularity in the 20th century, in particular in the tradition of ‘scientific philosophy’ initiated by Bertrand Russell and continued by the Vienna Circle and later with their ‘heirs’ in the United States such as W.V.O. Quine (who used the ambiguous term ‘naturalism’ to describe the idea of continuity between philosophy and other disciplines) and Hilary Putnam”

“To motivate a strict separation between science and philosophy, a point sometimes made is that scientists are involved in the merely descriptive inquiry of telling us how things are, while philosophers are involved in conceptual and (or) normative inquiry as well, which includes looking at how things ought to be understood, and how they ought to be”

“Some decades ago, however, this presumed neat separation was challenged by the so-called experimental philosophy approach, which prompted what might described as a small methodological crisis in analytic philosophy. Could philosophy be empirical/experimental after all?”

“It is now widely recognized that so-called ‘wicked problems’ require complementary approaches to be addressed, but each methodology has its limitations and dead angles”

triangulation of methods is essential for investigating complex problems”

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