Beyond The Factual

Beyond The Factual

November 19, 2018 0 By Felso

Philosophy is not usually concerned with gathering facts.

That can be left to other disciplines such as science, or history, or psychology or anthropology. The reason for this is twofold. First, philosophy usually deals with matters that have to be assumed in gathering the facts – questions about truth and the knowability of reality, for example. Any attempt to solve the philosophical problems by reference to the facts is therefore highly likely to be question begging.

We cannot for example refer to the evidence gathered through perception about the world to solve the philosophical problem of what can be known, if anything, about the world through perception. Second, the facts are usually insufficient to deal with the philosophical problem. This is particularly obvious in ethics.

It is generally argued that no reference to what people are like and what they actually do can answer the question of what people ought to do. This is not to say the facts are ignored, just that the facts are insufficient to allow us to come to conclusions about the matters with which philosophy deals.