On Philosophy's (lack of) Progress: From Plato to Wittgenstein (and Rawls)

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I argue that the type of progress exhibited by philosophy is not that exhibited by science (as analysed e.g. by Thomas Kuhn), but rather is akin to the kind of progress exhibited (say) be someone becoming 'older and wiser'. However, as actually-existing philosophy has gotten older, it has not always gotten wiser. As an illustration, I consider Rawls's conception of justification. I argue that Rawls's notion of what it is to have a philosophical justification exhibits no progress at all from Euthyphro's. In fact, drawing on a remark of Wittgenstein's, I suggest that Rawls's conception is inferior to the situation as depicted in Plato's famous dialogue - because at least in the case of Plato's Euthyphro, there is no illusion of justification. Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-367
Number of pages27
Issue number03
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

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