The Other I

June 18, 2010

The philosophers’ mind

Filed under: Psychology, Philosophy & Personal Nonsense — theotheri @ 8:07 pm

A recent survey of analytical philosophers who are usually the type that teach in most University departments in English-speaking countries has revealed some surprising beliefs among them:

  • about 3/4 of the professors interviewed do not believe in God.  Even in America.
  • just over half believe that what we call mental states are in fact physical.
  • 82% are inclined towards “non-sceptical realism”;  that means they believe that physical objects are not just creations of our own minds with no independent existence of their own, and that we can indeed know of them.  That’s a relief.  At least the scientific endeavour is saved.
  • But that does mean that almost 1 in 5 aren’t so sure about it.  About a quarter of this group simply are not certain that we have certain knowledge of the existence of physical objects.  An almost an equal number are “idealists” who think that the existence of matter depends on mind.
  • 2 out of 5  think that numbers have a real existence independently of our minds.
  • The same number think artistic judgements are not merely a matter of individual taste but that aesthetic judgements are objective.
  • most philosophers seem to lean toward the view that moral values are also objective though they were mixed on the hows and whys of it.

I guess some of the questions I’ve been asking lately aren’t so dumb.

Though whether some of my answers can be judged with equal charity is still open to debate.

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