Stockholm university

Higher seminar in theoretical philosophy: James Nguyen


Date: Thursday 24 November 2022

Time: 13.15 – 15.00

Location: TBA

Understanding Philosophy


What is the primary intellectual aim of philosophy? The standard view is that philosophy aims to provide true answers to philosophical questions. But if our aim is to settle controversy by answering such questions, our discipline is an embarrassing failure. Moreover, taking philosophy to aim at providing true answers to these questions leads to a variety of puzzles: How do we account for philosophical expertise? How is philosophical progress possible? Why do job search committees not care about the truth or falsity of a candidate’s philosophical views? We argue that philosophy does not aim at discovering true answers to philosophical questions. Instead, its primary intellectual aim is understanding. We argue that many familiar aspects of philosophy become intelligible once we accept this hypothesis.

This talk is based on joint work with Michael Hannon (University of Nottingham).