Some scholars say that philosophical problems should be annihilated or killed off once they’ve outlived their usefulness. But Brian Glenney, assistant professor of philosophy, believes they live past their usefulness for philosophy and can be resurrected by scientific experiments. In fact, Glenney’s recent article “Philosophical Problems, Cluster Concepts and the Many Lives of Molyneaux’s Question” explores this in the December online issue of the top-tier journal, Biology and Philosophy. The article will also appear in a later print edition. Here’s Glenney’s abstract:
“Molyneux’s question, whether the newly sighted might immediately recognize tactilely familiar shapes by sight alone, has produced an array of answers over three centuries of debate and discussion. I propose the first pluralist response: many different answers, both yes and no, are individually sufficient as an answer to the question as a whole. I argue that this is possible if we take the question to be cluster concept of sub-problems. This response opposes traditional answers that isolate specific perceptual features as uniquely applicable to Molyneux’s question and grant viability to only one reply. Answering Molyneux’s question as a cluster concept may also serve as a methodology for resolving other philosophical problems.”
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