Frege, Wittgenstein, Russell

A new philosophical movement began to develop in late 19th century and blossomed through the entire 20th century. It became known as analytic philosophy and focused on clarity, argument, and a logical, linguistic, and mathematical formulation of philosophical ideas. Although this new school dominated the philosophy of English-speaking countries, its forerunner is a German mathematician and philosopher named Gottlob Frege.

Gottlob Frege (1848–1925) was a German philosopher, logician, and mathematician, generally regarded as the father of modern philosophy of language. Working on the borderline between philosophy and mathematics, Frege discovered the fundamental ideas and invented the entire discipline of mathematical…

We have all heard about Pragmatism. What does it really mean? Read on for the basics of this American philosophy and the people who made this a dominant trend in modern thinking. This is the complete version on Pragmatism previously published in three separate parts on this and other media.

This new philosophical current began to develop as nineteenth century America was coming of age culturally and intellectually. The undisputed founder of the new philosophy was Charles Sanders Peirce, one of the most original minds of the century and, in the words of Bertrand Russell, “the greatest American thinker ever”…

The history of science and philosophy in classical Greece shows that Aristotle and others, such as Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, were the first scholars to establish a scientific method, the pursuit of knowledge through systematic observation, measurement and experiment and the formulation, testing and modification of hypotheses.

Aristotle recognized that empirical input rather than pure reason is the only source of new knowledge. The basic steps of the scientific method have not changed much since Aristotle’s time. There are typically four steps: (1) Observation of a natural event. (2) Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the event. (3) Use of the…

Feyerabend and Kuhn explained

In my own experience scientists are actually fascinated and thrive by their own lack of knowledge. But what about their methods? Is there such a thing as the scientific method or do scientists make great discoveries in the absence of logic and method, driven by intuition, anarchy and (mostly) uncommon sense? Is there any value in the philosophy of knowledge and the study of the scientific method?

Quest for the Holy Grail

In his introduction to The Feynman Lectures on Physics, physicist Richard Feynman wrote “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. So do not take the lecture too seriously, feeling that you really have to understand in terms of some model what I am going to describe, but just relax and enjoy it. I am going to tell you what nature behaves like. If you will simply admit that maybe she does behave like this, you will find her a delightful, entrancing thing. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, But how…

Portrait of Nietzsche by Edvard Munch, 1906

Many people know something about Nietzsche as he is one of the most widely known of all philosophers. He is also one of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood. Nietzsche wrote about an individual’s struggle for distinction. A noble idea which many people can identify with as our modern life is filled with competition in the pursuit of excellence. Nietzsche never projected his idea to a quest for national or racial supremacy. There is nothing like this in his writings and yet certain people, politicians, military leaders, and scholars managed to exploit his idea to commit or justify atrocities. …

The miraculous last decade of the nineteenth century brought scientific focus into the interior of the atom, which was no longer the smallest unit of matter. The twentieth century was destined to open with a bang, when in 1900 German physicist Max Planck made a pioneering proposal that would begin the quantum era in our modern understanding of the microcosm.

Planck was born in 1858 in Kiel, Germany, the sixth child of a traditional and intellectual family. His father was a Law professor at the University of Kiel. …

Greek Philosophy and Medieval Theology

Raphael’s fresco “School of Athens”

What does philosophy do for us? Does it create new knowledge? Not really, says Wittgenstein, only science does that.

Philosophy, I might say, teaches us how to think. There is no other human or natural process that concerns itself exclusively with the art and science of thinking. Goethe described the reading of Kant as walking into a lighted room. I think we will be quite safe if we replaced “Kant” with “philosophy”.

This series of articles is aimed at non-philosophers who have a philosophical disposition. The present article does not provide detailed biographical notes or any discussion, defense and argumentation…

The New Analytic Philosophy

The twentieth century opened with a bang. Max Planck’s quantum theory and Albert Einstein’s relativity theory were the Big Bang in physics and created an incredible chain of scientific activity in new areas of exploration. Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913 was literally a bang, as its first performance in Paris started a riot. A revolutionary work that pushed the boundaries of musical design into unforeseen new areas and had a profound influence through the entire century. …

Kant, Hegel and German Idealism

David Hume’s theory of knowledge is the most sophisticated and complete theory of knowledge before Kant, who in fact was tremendously influenced by Hume and spent much of his life trying to deal with Hume’s conclusions. Kant saw that Hume had posed a most fundamental challenge to all human knowledge claims.

Immanuel Kant is generally regarded as the greatest philosopher of the past 2000 years. …

Michael Sidiropoulos

Independent consultant and author who writes about the philosophy of science and the scientific method. His most recent book is “The Mind of Science”.

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