Philosopher’s Closet

Here’s a show stopper for you.  Philosophy is really the study of behavior.

“Oh, hey! Hold your horses!” you say.  “Who are you kidding?” you say.

Oh yes, Gentle Reader.  Bear with me but a few moments, and you may agree with what I suggest.  Let’s peek inside the Philosopher’s Closet and see exactly what kind of clothing she wears.

Ahh, I see the ever popular toga and flip flops, hanging right next to the dark three-piece suit.  On the shelf is the old goblet for hemlock, and it looks like a pipe box – but both haven’t been used for a long time.  No little black dresses, no high heels, a very practical wardrobe.  What about accessories?

I see a whole assortment of recently worn eyewear, so no lasik going on here.  And a lot of paper, some going back many centuries.  Obviously a lot of writing and talking going on.  Let’s look for that book of axioms and conclusions and see what it has to say.  There are a whole lot of great volumes littering the floor, covering every subject under the sun, but where are the conclusions of philosophy?  Here it is, lying on the floor next to some old tobacco.  A very thin notebook.  Let’s open it up.

Well, isn’t this interesting.  Not much in this.  Some lines about syllogisms, a little geometry and some higher math.  A nod to biology, and that’s it.  Next to all these other great volumes, this seems a bit too lean, doesn’t it?

It should.  Philosophy is an academic discipline and an art form that doesn’t directly produce anything we can measure, so far.  What they purport to study is what people do and think, and that’s behavior!

But what philosophy is in strictly functional terms is this; people talking about stuff.  People talking.  That’s behavior in itself, and that’s what we study.  They think they are talking about the meaning of life and great concepts such as Truth and Justice, but as far as the rest of us are concerned, they are only talking to themselves.

As students of behavior, we have to recognize this talking, and the entire art form that we call “Philosophy” as a particular kind of behavior.  So let’s ask this question; can we study it and find out what it’s all about?

I think, therefore we can.

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