Naive Neo-Classical Philosophy

I thought I might try a label to pronounce how I feel about philosophy right now. Its a bit pompous maybe.

Anyway, this is what its supposed to mean.

Firstly the naive bit. This almost means "unprofessional". You don't need to be a scholar, nor of course a sophist. More below.

Neo-classical? Well this is about scope. Its about including almost everything, like the Greeks did. Science, mathematics, politics, economics.. whatever. Not just (or even?) in their linguistic aspects.


So what's the point of doing philosophy if you don't know what you are talking about?

It seems to me to be necessary. Philosophy both in the broader sense and in the narrow. Forget the philosophy for a moment. Let me talk about logic.

A few years back I was putting together a project to build software supporting formal specification and verification of computer systems. Worked in this area for about a decade.

Anyway, you have to make decisions. To implement a proof tool you have to chose a logic. You can look at the work of modern logicians, and at what computer scientists have done, but that doesn't settle the matter. A choice has to be made, in limited time. Even if I devoted my life to it I wouldn't understand all the ostensibly relevant background, and if I tried I would miss the boat. Real world decisions have to be made on imperfect knowledge. Taking the advice of an expert may be a good idea. But there are many, they give different advice, and they don't actually understand your problem.

Actually, chosing the logic for the proof tool wasn't so hard. It had to be something we understood well enough to be confident that we could implement it fast and well, and also be confident that it would do the job. So it had to be HOL, that was the only one we knew well enough.

But this was just short term pragmatism for me. I still had my ideas about the kind of logic I really wanted. I had these for ages, and it had been pretty clear to me for several years that noone else was addressing the same problems. So I was trying it myself.

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