Synthetic Philosophy
Overview
Synthetic philosophy is built around a purposive and realistic epistemology and is called synthetic because this epistemology is synthesised to be pragmatic and realistic rather than revealed as a body of philosophical dogma.
Synthetic philosophy is the second of two steps away from positivism in philosophy at RBJones.com.
Synthetic epistemology is an approach to epistemology in which standards of justification for claims to knowledge are recognised as elective, and in which sound judgement is recognised as primary.
Synthetic philosophy is my second approach to the synthesis of the modern remnants of "The Enlightenment" and "Romanticism". Whereas the first attempt, begun when I had almost no knowledge of philosophical romanticism, was an attempt to stich together coherently aspects from each tradition, this approach is more organic. For comparison I include below a link to the first approach, which I called positive philosophy. This is no more than a skeleton, but I may continue to develop this perspective in parallel with synthetic philosophy.
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
An Introduction to Synthetic Philosophy
Synthetic philosophy is the second of two steps away from positivism in philosophy at RBJones.com.
What's Wrong with Positivism

It has always been the case that my attitude towards positivism has been based on the selection of elements of merit from this family of philosophies, augmented by contemporary insights, and omitting or modifying other features. This is almost inevitable, since in this as in any philosophical tendency, different philosophers have already taken divergent positions on some points. (in some cases e.g. pragmatism, itself closely related to positivism, earlier philosophers may have little in common with their successors)

I have recently become more aware of the dominant perception by others of positivism. Naturally it becomes associated not so much with its most characteristic doctrines but with its most controversial. Prominent among these are perhaps nominalism, phenomenalism and scientism, with none of which am I in great sympathy.

First Step

My first very small step away from identification of my philosophy as positivistic was the step from "metaphysical positivism" to "positive philosophy" in which the relatively definite notion of positivism is displaced by the vaguer adjective "positive". This coincided with the integration more explicitly of romantic elements into the philosophical panorama, albeit in the form of "existential positivism".

Next Step

The current step of evolution away from a positivism arises from the introduction of "synthetic epistemology" into a central position.

There are two elements to this.

The first is simply the restoration of epistemology to that key place in philsophy which in the 20th century it lost to the Philosophy of Language.

The second is the idea that epistemology should be synthetic, which is itself a reaction against philosophical attitudes to language prevalent in the second half of the twentieth century. The term "synthentic" here must be understood (as should all philosophical terms) in a very specific way. Epistemology is concerned with knowledge and its justification. The idea behind synthetic epistemology is that the language we use to talk about language and its justification should be chosen by the philosopher the motivation for the choice should be explicit and should lie in the philosophers conception of how the way we seek and justify knowledge might evolve in the future.

Thus, whether analytic, a priori or necessary knowledge do or do not coincide depends upon exactly how these terms are to be used, which is not something a philosopher (or anyone else) can reliably discover. What a philosopher can and should do, is to put forward a proposal on how they should be used.

Whether knowledge is a priori or not should depend (I suggest) not on how that knowledge is obtained, but on what kind of justification we expect to accompany a claim to the knowledge. What we expect by way of justification is a matter of choice, which we may make on pragmatic grounds, rather than a matter of fact with an objective answer.

Synthetic Epistemology
Synthetic epistemology is an approach to epistemology in which standards of justification for claims to knowledge are recognised as elective, and in which sound judgement is recognised as primary.
Introductory Notes
These are the briefest notes on the main features of synthetic epistemology.
Some Comparisons
Some aspects of synthetic epistemology are introduced through the work of other philosophers.

Positive Philosophy
A philosophical synthesis from elements of the rational/empiricist and the romantic/existential aspects of western philosophy, overlaid on a substratum (naive philosophy) which is sceptical and expressionistic. In its less romantic elements the position is sceptical and in some respects positivistic, but the philosophy is also I hope, positive in a more ordinary sense.
RATIONAL
resolving the conflicts
ROMANTIC
Metaphysical Positivism is systematic constructive positivist philosophy. We present here sketches of Metaphysical Positivism together with some related historical material which might possibly help the reader come to an understanding of this system and its place in the history of ideas.
The problem of engineering machines which reason is philosophically provocative. The justification of an architecture for such a machine is a kind of constructive philosophy.
A conception of philosophy in terms of its purpose, methods, form and content, which is closer in some ways to literary art than it is to most other philosophy.
Existential positivism is positive practical philosophy. It builds from a base of pragmatic scepticism, and is closely related to, though not strictly dependent on existential expressionism. It bears on philosophical matters which depend in some way on subjective values, or upon some other kind of essential reference to our personal feelings and intutions.
A triad of book projects related to Positive Philosophy.

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