Discussing the Shape of Things (that might be) to Come

One stock criticism of philosophers is their uselessness: they address useless matters or address useful matters in a way that is useless. One interesting specific variation is to criticize a
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One stock criticism of philosophers is their uselessness: they address useless matters or address useful matters in a way that is useless. One interesting specific variation is to criticize a philosopher for philosophically discussing matters of what might be. For example, a philosopher might discuss the ethics of modifying animals to possess human levels of intelligence. As another example, a philosopher might present an essay on the problem of personal identity as it relates to cybernetic replacement of the human body. In general terms, these speculative flights can be dismissed as doubly useless: not only do they have the standard uselessness of philosophy, they also have the uselessness of talking about what is not and might never be. Since I have, at length and elsewhere, addressed the general charge of uselessness against philosophy, I will focus on this specific sort of criticism. One version of this sort of criticism can be seen as practical: since the shape of what might be. . .

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News source: Talking Philosophy

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