Even today, at the
beginning of the twenty-first century, the process of charting the
brain’s intricate functioning has barely begun. As Rita Carter writes
in her book Mapping the Mind, ‘the vision of the brain we have
now is probably no more complete or accurate than a sixteenth-century
map of the world.'
Webster: Freud, Charcot and hysteria: lost in the
"I am actually not at all a man of science, not an observer, not an
experimenter, not a thinker. I am by temperament nothing but a
conquistador--an adventurer, if you want it translated--with all the
curiosity, daring, and tenacity characteristic of a man of this sort"
Freud, letter to Wilhelm Fliess, Feb. 1, 1900).
The opening quote states a
point of view I reached myself independently in the seventies and
eighties, when I studied philosophy and psychology, hoping and
expecting to become eventually a philosopher of science and a logician.
This did not work out because of ME
- I think it is fair to say, since quite a few who should know were
impressed by my
Also, the webpages of
Richard Webster are interesting for those who want some clear
explanations of what Freud, and indeed psychiatry, is about for the
most part, in informed and clear English also.
I come to these in my third
section, since in the first two I give at least an outline of my own
philosophical and methodological assumptions, continuing in fact what I
wrote the last two days about the American Psychiatric Association
(APA) and its DSM-5, that I hope will finish this association as soon
as possible, since it clearly is not rational, not moral, not
scientific and not honest:
Natural Philosophy - foundations of rational
philosophy and science
2. Philosophy of science - foundations science and
3. Some links about psychiatry
Note please that in good scientific
theorizing as foundation there is a many-layered structure, that in
fact has been built up by mathematicians, physicists, and
scientifically oriented philosophers since Galileo Galileo laid the
real foundations of modern rational empirical science:
It starts with a general philosophy, usually
followed by a philosophy of science of the specific science someone is
interested in, combined if done well with introductions to mathematics,
mathematical logic, and probability theory and statistics, which in
turn is followed by the more specific methodological problems and
techniques of the science.
This can be given and has been done for real
sciences like physics and chemistry, starting for serious in the 19th
Century by Faraday, Mill, Whewell, Peirce, Jevons, Clifford, Hertz and
continued in the 20th by Poincaré, Russell, Keynes, Johnson, Broad,
Campbell, and Carnap: See section 2 for some relevant texts.
None of this was done for psychology, with a
few partial exceptions, and especially in the 19th Century notably
Peirce, James and Helmholtz - who unlike later psychologists and
psychiatrists really knew real science - and it was not done for
psychiatry either, at least if one speaks of foundations informed by
real scientific knowledge.
The reasons this was not done are, among
others: (1) that psychology and psychiatry were far less well-developed
when institutionalized as "sciences" in universities, in which one
could be taught, and receive degrees in, than were physics, chemistry
and mathematics; (2) that psychology and psychiatry are far more
complicated than physics and chemistry, which are many orders of
complexity less; and (3) that very soon both psychology and psychiatry
were torn apart by competing schools, that disagreed down to the very
foundations, methods and presuppositions of the supposed sciences.
In any case, here follow some of my own
assumptions and background when I think about and discuss psychiatry
and psychology, that for me are for the most part as yet not real
sciences, for the quoted reason mostly, since both these sciences are
essentially about the human brain:
‘the vision of the brain we have now is
probably no more complete or accurate than a sixteenth-century map of
This fact is not, itself, the fault of
psychologists or psychiatrists: The human brain seems the most complex
organ nature has produced, and most of the fundamentals about how it
works its miracles - consciousness, sentience, morality, free will (or
its strong illusion), seeing colours, young love in spring, playing,
speaking languages, composing and enjoying great music and art, doing
mathematics, cooperating to make a humane society - lies hidden in the
dark to this day.
What is the fault of psychologists or
psychiatrists, and especially clinical psychologists and clinical
psychiatrists, that is, the breeds that treat patients for money, are
their lies and pretensions about knowledge and insight into others'
minds that they cannot possibly have themselves, or at least not based
on any known science or any known rational evidence:
For none of the things I mentioned -
consciousness, sentience, morality, free will (or its strong illusion),
seeing colours, young love in spring, playing, speaking languages,
composing and enjoying great music and art, doing mathematics,
cooperating to make a humane society - there is anything in the way of
a full and satisfying rational explanation that is based on
intersubjectively widely accepted and repeatable evidence, and for
most, including thinking, feeling, and learning in a human way, there
is hardly a start and also not even much good evidence.
In any case... here are
some outlines of rational foundations for rational science:
1. Natural Philosophy - foundations of
rational philosophy and science
1. General Introduction: definition
2. The fundamental problem of
3. Natural Language
4. Natural Logic
5. Natural Realism
6. Scientific Realism
1. General Introduction
Etymologically, from the Greek "love of
wisdom". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical
tells us philosophy is
(In the original and widest
sense.) The love, study, or pursuit of wisdom, or of knowledge of
things and their causes, whether theoretical or practical.
That more advanced study,
to which, in the mediaeval universities, the seven liberal arts were
introductory; it included the three branches of natural, moral, and
metaphysical philosophy, commonly called the three philosophies.
(= natural p.) The
knowledge or study of natural objects and phenomena; now usu. called
(= moral p.) The knowledge
or study of the principles of human action or conduct; ethics.
(= metaphysical p.) That
department of knowledge or study that deals with ultimate reality, or
with the most general causes and principles of things. (Now the
most usual sense.)
Occas. used esp. of
knowledge obtained by natural reason, in contrast with revealed
With of: The study of the
general principles of some particular branch of knowledge, experience
or activity; also, less properly, of any subject or phenomenon.
philosophical system or theory.
a. The system which a
person forms for the conduct of life. b. The mental attitude or habit
of a philosopher; serenity, resignation; calmness of temper.
This is as clear a definition as any, and
presume it for my subject.
2. The fundamental problem of presuppositions
If we want to know or study "ultimate reality" (whatever that will turn out
to be), what may we or may we not presuppose? This is a
relevant question, if only because it seems that whatever we do
presuppose will have some influence on whatever we come to conclude
while also it seems we cannot conclude anything without presupposing
something: To reach any conclusion one needs some assumption(s).
It is clear that
any human philosophy is the product of people who already know and
suppose something, in particular some Natural Language to
reason and communicate with. So any human being concerned with
philosophy uses and presumes in some sense some Natural Language.
3. Natural Language: Set of symbols that can
be combined into statements,
and stories, to convey information
anything whatsoever that can be thought about,
experienced or imagined.
This allows the
users of a natural language to frame philosophical questions and
provide philosophical answers, and it is also clear that each and every
human being that speaks a natural language therewith has a means to
claim about any of its statements that it is true or not true, credible
or not, necessary or not, and much more ("probable", "plausible",
"politically correct", "sexist", "morally desirable" a.s.o.)
There are other
definitions of natural language, but one essential point about
it is that it is a distinctively human gift, and is - together
that is also at least conveyed and expressed by language - what makes
human beings different from other animals. Almost everything that makes
human beings specifically human rests on the skill of natural language,
that any healthy neonate can pick up in a few years by being exposed to
speakers of the language.
For the purpose of doing philosophy, in the
sense seriously attempting to ask and answer general questions, some
natural language must be considered given, for without it there simply
are no questions to pose or answer. And indeed, all philosophy,
including philosophies that conclude there is no human knowledge, in
fact presumes some natural language.
This is itself a fact of some philosophical
importance that is often disregarded. One of its important applications
is to show that people who propound skeptical arguments to the effect
that human beings cannot know anything, or cannot know anything with
certainty, or cannot know anything with more or less probability than
its denial (these are three somewhat different versions of skepticism,
that also has other variants that are less easy to refute) must be
mistaken, since they all presuppose some natural language known well
enough to state claims that nothing can be known.
It should also be noted with some care that a
natural language is not given to human beings in a completely clear,
perfect and obvious way (since, for example, it is very difficult to
clearly articulate the rules of grammar one does use automatically and
correctly when speaking it), but it is given to start with as a tool
for communication and expression that may be improved and questioned,
and that enables one to pose and answer questions of any kind.
Natural language is, in other and somewhat
technical words, a heuristic, i.e. something that helps one find out
things. What other heuristics do come with being human?
Every Natural Language includes many terms and
many - usually not very explicit and articulated - rules that enable
its users to represent their experiences, and to reason or argue with
themselves or others. We shall call this body of terms and rules
A collection of terms and rules that
come with Natural Language that allows us to reason and argue
In any Natural
Language there are the elements of what may be called its Natural
a collection of terms and rules that come with
Natural Language that allows us to reason and argue in it.
Examples of such
logical terms are: "and", "or", "not", "true", "false", "if",
"therefore", "every", "some", "necessary", "possible", "therefore", "is
the same as", "any (arbitrary)" and "one (specific)", and quite a few
more. Examples of such logical rules, that are here formulated
in terms of what one may write down on the strength of what one already
has written down (pretending for the moment that natural language is
written rather than spoken) are: "If one has written down that if one
statement is true then another statement is true, and if one has
written down that the one statement is true, then one may write down
(in conclusion) that the other statement is true" (thus: "if it rains
then it gets wet and it rains, therefore it gets wet") and "If one has
written down that every so-and-so is such-and-such, and this is a
so-and-so, then one may write down that this is a such-and-such" (thus:
"if every Greek is human and Socrates is a Greek, therefore Socrates is
We presuppose Natural
Logic in much the same way as we presuppose Natural Language:
as something we have to start with and precisify later, and that
may well come to be revised or extended quite seriously, but also
as something that at least seems to be in part given in more or
less the same way to any able speaker of a Natural Language: In it
there are a considerable number of terms and - usually
implicit - rules
which enable every speaker of the language to argue and reason, that
every speaker knows and has extensive experience with.
Again, it does not
follow that these rules and terms are clear or sacrosanct. All that I
assume is that they come with Natural Language and are to some extent
articulated in Natural Language and understood and presupposed by
everyone who uses Natural Language.
fundamental assumptions about the making of assumptions that come with
Natural Logic are as follows - where it should be noted I am not
stating these assumptions with more precision than may be supposed here
1. Nothing can be
argued without the making of assumptions.
2. An assumption is a statement that is supposed to be true.
3. Human beings are free to assume whatever they please.
These I suppose to
be true statements about arguments and
people arguing, where it should be noted that especially the third
assumption, factually correct though it seems to be, has been widely
denied in human history for political, religious, philosophical or ideological
reasons: In most places, at most times, people have not been
allowed to speak publicly about all assumptions they can make.
assumptions about argumentation that should be mentioned here are:
1. Conclusions are statements that
are inferred in arguments from earlier assumptions and conclusions by
means of assumptions called rules
of inference, that state which kinds of statements may be
concluded from the assumption of which kinds of statements
2. Definitions of terms are assumptions to the effect that a
certain term may be substituted by a certain other term in a certain
kind of arguments
3. Rational argumentation about a topic starts with
explicating rules of inference, assumptions and definitions of terms,
and proceeds with the adding of conclusions only if these do follow by
some assumed rule of inference.
4. A statement is true
precisely if what it says is in fact the case.
The first two
assumptions need more clarification than will be given here and now,
but, on the other hand, again every speaker of a Natural Language will
have some understanding of setting up arguments in terms of
assumptions, definitions and rules
of inference, and drawing conclusions from these assumptions
and definitions by means of these rules of inference.
assumption, when compared with the normal practice of people arguing,
entails that mostly people do not argue very rationally, at
least in the sense that all too often they rely in their arguments on
rules of inference, assumptions or definitions they have not explicitly
assumed yet have used in the course of the argument. (Often such
assumptions are made because of wishful
The fourth assumption
is in fact a definition of the term "true" that expresses
an idea that is older than Aristotle, who seems to have been the first
to formulate it clearly and stress its central importance. It needs
also more explanation than will be given here and now, but it seems to
clearly express the meaning of "true" people use when they discuss
ideas about reality that are personally important to them.
A minimal metaphysics
that most human beings share may be called Natural Realism and
stated in terms of the following fundamental assumptions:
is one reality
that exists apart from what human beings think and
reality is made up of kinds
properties and stand in relations.
of these things, properties and relations are invariant, at
least for some time, and therefore predictable.
Human beings form part of that
reality and have experiences
about it that originate in it.
human beings have beliefs
about many real and unreal entities, that are about what they
is the case in reality and should be
the case in reality.
All living human
beings have very similar
or identical feelings,
and beliefs and desires in
many ordinary similar or identical circumstances.
like natural realism is at the basis of human social interaction, at
the basis of the law, and at the basis of promises,
contracts and agreements, while the last of the assumptions I used to
characterize Natural Realism amounts to an assumption of a
shared human nature.
We shall assume Natural
Realism is also at the basis of philosophy, at
least initially, firstly, because we must assume something to
conclude anything; secondly, because even if we - now or eventually -
disagree with Natural Realism it helps to try to state clearly what it
amounts to; and thirdly, because it does seem an assumption like that
of Natural Realism is involved in much human reasoning about
themselves and others, and about language, meaning and reality.
Finally, since this
implies not only a logical and rational approach to knowledge but
also an empirical and scientific approach, we assume, to start with,
and until we have found better rules, next to logic, Newton's "Rules
of Reasoning" in his "Mathematical Principles of Natural
6. Scientific realism: The
thesis that human beings all are part of one and the same reality that is
most successfully known, understood, explained and changed by scientific
Note that there are other
ways of trying to understand or influence nature, such
superstition and magic,
which tend to have claims and results that are only believed by the faithful in such
things (see: Wishful
thinking), and that there are other ways of trying to
understand or influence human beings,
namely by art, intuition, imaginatively taking their place, or talking
or living with them.
Dictionary is written mostly from a point of view that is fairly
described as scientific realism, in the sense defined. See
See also: First
Assumptions, Natural Logic,
metaphysics, Personalism, Rationality, Representing,
Logic - semantics
2. Philosophy of science - foundations
science and methodology
And now for something
completetely different... good modern philosophy texts.
As it happens, I give only texts that fall within the traditions of
philosophy of science, analytical philosophy or methodology, and for a
good reason: Only these - for the most part - make rational sense.
Also, I am using the text of my Ten good modern philosophy texts of
So yes, good books of
philosophy exist - and yes, like almost all good things, they are rare,
and they deserve to be known and savoured, so in this piece I will name
some really good modern philosophy books and briefly say why I think
But first I should say what
is a "modern philosophy text". As I wish to use the term, at least in
this piece, it is a text about philosophy that was published since 1900
and that is not postmodern.
This is not quite as the
term is used normally, for in terms of
philosophical periods, the modern period starts around 1600, but I
do not want to consider books from that period, but only from the last
century or so, and also I have used "modern" in opposition to "postmodern",
for I think the last school of philosophy is not real but bogus philosophy - a kind of nihilism
with pretensions and media appeal, but related to real philosophy and
real science as are journalism and prostitution related to the subjects
of real wisdom and real love.
Also, it should be mentioned
in this context that "philosophy", broadly and vaguely speaking, but
precisely enough for the moment, was a rather different sort of thing
in the 20th Century, in the West at least, than in earlier centuries,
and for several reasons, that deserve to be listed in part, for they
are somewhat curious and interesting.
First, there was much more
of philosophy about and around in the 20th century (again in the West,
especially, but this I will leave tacitly understood in the rest of
this text), for four different sort of reasons:
- There was much more freedom to discuss philosophies of
all kinds (including religions for the moment) freely than in previous
- There was much more attention paid to philosophies of
many kinds in the daily and periodical press and media, that only came
into existence in the end of the 19th Century.
- Practical implementations of the politicial
philosophies of fascism and communism ruled dictatorially in large
countries over many millions (and appealed to many millions outside
- Philosophy was taught as a special subject on a much
wider scale in the universities than ever before, which fuelled the
printing of lots more books about philosophy than in previous centuries.
The first two points are -
perhaps - somewhat ephemeral or fleeting, in the sense that a public,
and especially a public with daily public media, may discuss much and
may even do so heatedly without this making much of a real difference,
but they do constitute a real difference with earlier centuries.
The third point was of
fundamental political, social and human importance, as it ruined the
lives and chances of many millions, and shows that philosophy
really is of practical importance - but it also is about philosophy
run insane, or dictatorial or populist, which is practically and
politically important, but not cognitively so, which is what I am
concerned with here.
The fourth point means that
there was in fact a flood of philosophy books of all kinds,
schools, contents and qualities published in the 20th Century, of which
any one person can have read only a small fraction.
Note that much of this -
probably by far the greatest part - was not so much serious philosophy
as serious publishing: There was a market for it, unlike in
previous centuries, either because it had become fashionable for -
would be - intellectuals to be informed about philosophy or to have
philosophical opinions or because it catered to philosophy courses in
As it happens, I believe
that I have read more modern philosophy than almost anyone. There must
be some who have read more, but (i) they are very probably
professionally employed as teachers of philosophy at some university
and especially (ii) it is unlikely they have read as widely as
I have, for professional philosophers tend to be well read only in
their own academic specialisms, and not outside it.
As it happens also, although
I have read widely in modern philosophy, I have read critically, and
the modern philosophy I like (or indeed: can take seriously) is
almost always of the analytical, scientific and realistic
kind, since only that kind of modern philosophy may hope to escape
Hume's severe judgment that most philosophy is little better than
sophistries and illusions, that are designed to make life seem bearable
or worthwile, rather than being designed to further finding the truth about things.
So here is a brief list of
good philosophical texts in English, followed by some explanations
why I think they are good and deserve reading.
I'll list them in the order
from introductory to demanding, and give summaries below:
& Cohen: Introduction to Logic and Scientific Method
This is an introductory
university text for beginning students and interested laymen that dates
back to the 1930ies, and that has been published and republished in
various formats until, at least, the 1970ies. The edition I mean is the
full edition, that gives a readable and basic if today
also somewhat old-fashioned introduction to logic and philosophy of
science, including the foundations of probability theory and statistics.
It is in some ways
definitely out of date, but it does give a good and clear introduction
to realistic, analytical and scientific philosophy, without being
partial or excessively formal, and it also does a good job of relating
philosophy to science and to daily life.
Klaus & Kuntz: Philosophy: The Study of Alternative Beliefs
Klaus & Kuntz is another introductory university text
for beginning students of philosophy, and has the merits of being
clear, fair and well done. Like Nagel & Cohen it will not impose
logical or mathematical technicalities on you, and it also does a good
job of relating philosophy to science and to daily life.
Overall, this seems to me to
be the best introduction to philosophy in one volume that I have read,
especially because of its clarity, fairness and scope.
Russell: History of Western Philosophy
Russell's History of
Western Philosophy is reputed to be partial (to Russell and to
analytical philosophy), unscholarly (Russell didn't know Greek) and
superficial (less than a 1000 pages), but it has the great merits of
being well-written, easily readable, being the only introduction to
philosophy or its history that made me laugh, and to do its job, namely
to give a survey of Western philosophy in one book, by one mind, quite
There are better systematic
introductions to the subject, but they are not better written or more
readable, and if all you want is a readable and adequate survey of the
field, this is a fine text.
Russell: Human Knowledge - Its scope and its limits
Knowledge - Its Scope and Limits, in fact was his last serious book
about philosophy, and was not well received, because it did not fit in
well or at all with the dominant philosophical schools at the time,
which were forms of fairly crude but very pretentions neo-positivism or
Also, later this text was
not widely read, because it was considered old-fashioned, mistaken, or
not of the right neo-positivist (empirical) or linguistic kind, but it
seems to me a good and interesting statement and discussion of its
subject, written by a philosopher who, unlike most modern philosophers,
could write and who did know science.
So far, the books I have
been mentioning and commenting were (mostly) introductory texts. The
same holds for the following two, except that these are a little more
demanding, especially as regards mathematics
Hawkins: The Language of Nature
Hawkins' book is a very
fine text on philosophy of science and its relation to mathematics. It
was written by someone who was neither a professional philosopher nor a
professional mathematician, but who was also, according to Stanislav
Ulam, who was a great mathematician, "the best amateur mathematician I
know". In result, the book is a lot better than most books by "real"
(that is "professional") philosophers of science or mathematicians on
It also is well-written and
clear, and the only setback I can think of is that it may require some
interest and knowledge of mathematics to savour and comprehend it fully.
Toraldo di Franca: The investigation of the physical world
Toraldo di Franca's book is
a fine text that is mostly about the philosophies of science and of
physics, that was written by an Italian physicist. It has the merits of
being very clear and of discussing rather a lot of the fundamental
ideas of physics quite sensibly and the only setback I can think of is
that it may require some interest and knowledge of mathematics to
understand all of it.
Broad: The Mind and its Place in Nature
Broad's text is probably
still the best introduction to its subject - philosophy of mind - in
one book, although it dates back to the 1920ies. It was written by a
very capable English philosopher, who also had good groundings in
mathematics and science, and who wrote very clearly and fairly.
If the book has a setback
(besides not referring to literature written after it), it may be that
it is an impressively fat tome, but that setback is balanced by Broad's
excellent common sense and very readable and clear style. If you are
interested in the subject at all (also if you are not a philosopher),
this is a text you should read.
Burtt: The metaphysical foundations of modern science
Burtt wrote a number of books relating to philosophy and
religion that are all worth reading, because he had a fine mind, a
clear style, and a fair manner of exposition, but the book I name is
the book that made him well-known, and deservedly so.
The book discusses, with
many quotations, especially the precursors of Newton in England, and
makes many points relating to the philosophies of science and of
physics that tend to be not discussed in other texts relating to these
subjects. It really clarifies the subject of its title, and if it has a
setback it must be that it discusses the contributions to philosophy of
very interesting and able scientific men like Boyle that are not often
discussed in philosophy texts.
I have finally arrived at
the last two texts, and these differ from the ones I have mentioned so
far in at least four important respects:
- First, these are not single books, but collections
of books with the same title and subject, of which the number depends
on the edition one uses.
- Second, these are texts that are mostly addressed to
specialists, notably philosophers of science, mathematicians, and
- Third, these texts require some minimal grounding and
abilities in mathematics and logic (though especially Stegmueller's
texts explain a considerable amount of this quite well).
- Fourth, these texts treat a lot of material, in a
somewhat encyclopedic way, and indeed are meant to be handbooks of some
kind, where one can find many fundamentals of many subjects.
Stegmueller: Probleme und Resultaten der analytischen und
Stegmueller - the title
means: Problems and results of analytical philosophy and philosophy
of science - I only know in German and in the form of rather a lot
of paperbound so-called Studienausgabe, but it seems to have
been originally in four thick clothbound volumes, that also have been
translated into English. It has the great merits of being an excellent summary of and
introduction to its subjects, and it also gives a fine survey of it,
and explains a lot about the foundations of logic and probability,
that tend to be difficult to find elsewhere.
Of all the texts I mention
in this piece, this is most scholarly, the longest, and the most
technical, but it also teaches its readers a lot about many things. The
only setbacks I can think of are that, taken together, it is a lot of
text, if one reads all, although that is not at all necessary, for the
volumes can be mostly read independently (*);
that it is quite thorough, which has the advantage of explaining lots
of things quite well that other texts don't explain at all (especially
as regards logic, probability and statistics); and that it is written
in scholarly German, which in this case means that it usually
is quite clear but normally is not exhilirating reading.
However... if you really
want to learn about the foundations of philosophy, science,
mathematics, logic, probability theory or statistics, this is
the text to turn to, for it explains much of this really well, and also
with full references.
Bunge: Treatise on Basic Philosophy
Bunge is an Argentinian
theoretical physicist and philosopher, of a pronounced realistic and
scientific bend in philosophy, that I like a lot. He wrote many books,
that also are recommendable, but his main work in philosophy is bound
to be the text I mentioned, which comes in some ten paperback volumes
(as I have them), and fundamentally states his own philosophy, which is
realistic, scientific, strongly related to physics, and very informed
about science and physics.
I like Bunge's Treatise
a lot, but I am aware of the setbacks: One must know something about
both science and philosophy to appreciate them; taken collectively, it
is a lot of text; it is - unavoidably so - somewhat dogmatic in parts;
and it contains printing mistakes, especially in formulas; and to
understand it (and correct the printing mistakes) one needs a fairly
good grounding in logic and mathematics (for which see Stegmueller).
On the other hand, it is a
relief to read a knowledgeable and bright physicist about science and
philosophy, rather than a dimwitted and pretentious philosopher, and it
gives a lot of background, general ideas, summaries, points of view,
and clearly stated principles and assumptions, that also seem mostly
sound and sensible to me, also if I did not quite agree. And no other
twentieth century philosopher I know of did something like this, on
Bunge's scale, with his thoroughness - to which it may be added that he
also has the merit of writing a clear and readable English.
Summing up: The above
gives a list of useful, interesting, generally well written books about
philosophy, all written in the 20th Century, all well worth reading,
all informed, that ought to keep you from the streets for half a year
at least, if you were to decide to read them all, and spend most of
your time on them, and work through them all.
I did so myself, but not
in half a year, and not consecutively, but in the course of some 40
years of reading in and around philosophy and science. Much of what I
think I have learned about these subjects is to be found somewhere in
these books, usually well explained and with clear references.
So... if you really
want to acquire some philosophical knowledge and competence, I have
herewith sketched a path towards it, and my final recommendations of
the path I indicated is that none of the above books was written by a
narrow specialist or for narrow specialists; all are at least tolerably
well written; all will teach you things you did not know before; while
the general sum-up of all is that real philosophy - the trying
to solve or clarify fundamental problems - is these days mostly done by
real scientists or real mathematicians, and not
by academic philosophers.
And for those who really
want to know: There is more on lines like the above in my
Review of Books relating to philosophy in my Philosophical
Dictionary, with a discussion of 20th-Century philosophers and their
books in Books
- 20th C.
For psychologists and
psychiatrists: If you do not know at least the full text of
Wolfgang Stegmüller's (the link is to the Wikipedia article
on him) and his co-workers great 4-volume work (also available in quite
a few socalled "Studienausgabe", following below with their original
dates of publication and their German titles, my position is that you
are not really qualified, not really competent, and in fact are
bullshitting anyone you lecture on the foundations of psychology or
Probleme und Resultate der Wissenschafttheorie und
- Band I, Erklärung-Begründung-Kausalität, 1983
- Band II, Theorie und Erfahrung, 1974
- 1. Teilband: Theorie und Erfahrung, 1974
- 2. Teilband: Theorienstrukturen und
- 3. Teilband: Die Entwicklung des neuen
Strukturalismus seit 1973, 1986
- Band III, Strukturtypen der Logik,1984
- Band IV, Personelle und statistische
- 1. Halbband: Personelle Wahrscheinlichkeit
und rationale Entscheidung, 1973
- 2. Halbband: Statistisches Schließen -
Statistische Begründung - Statistische Analyse, 1973
I should add that I have read myself all
or nearly all of this, and in the form of the Studienausgäbe. Also, I
should add that (1) I have heard it said repeatedly - last century, to
be sure - this work had been or was being translated, but I cannot find
it (2) I have some later editions than those listed (3) volumes III and
IV were made in cooperation with others.
Anyway: These volumes contain and explain
the sort of thinking one should know if one wants to or pretends to
discuss science and its foundations rationally.
links about psychiatry
I have had a very low
opinion of psychiatry ever since I bought and read, when 17, Patrick
Mullahy's "Oedipus - myth and complex" - which is, as it
happens, a capable introduction to the main schools of psychiatry that
existed up to the 1960ies.
My main two reasons to
rapidly develop a very low opinion of psychiatry were that at 17 I
still could recall my childhood very well, and I could verify none of
the attributions Freud and other psychiatrists made to me and anyone
else, and that I then also was quite capable of logical and rational
thought, and found that most that I read in Mullahy was neither logical
nor rational in my opinion - that I later found very strongly
confirmed, both in the academic study of psychology and the academic
study of philosophy.
To outline what I learned
later, over and above what is already in the present text, goes beyond
the limits I have set myself now, but since this started in fact in my
abhorrence with the DSM-5 - and see (for example)
I limit myself to some links
to work by Richard Webster, who wrote i.a. "Why Freud Was Wrong:
Sin, Science and Psychoanalysis (Revised edition, Harper Collins
There is more interesting
stuff about psychiatry in the links. Also good, in various respects
also, is Robert T. Carroll's the
- Freudian psychoanalysis
(in the Skeptic Dictionary)
(Opening paragraph, first - pictorial - link added:)
(1856-1939) is considered the father of psychoanalysis, which may be
the granddaddy of all
pseudoscientific psychotherapies, second only to Scientology as the
champion purveyor of false and misleading claims about the mind, mental
health, and mental illness. For example, in psychoanalysis
schizophrenia and depression are not brain disorders, but narcissistic
disorders. Autism and other brain disorders are not
brain problems but mothering problems. These illnesses do not require
pharmacological or behavioral treatment. They require only "talk"
therapy. Similar positions are taken for anorexia nervosa and
Tourette's syndrome (Hines 1990: 136). What is the scientific evidence
for the psychoanalytic view of these mental illnesses and their proper
treatment? There is none. (Skeptic Dictionary)
Parker Lightning ProcessTM (in
the Skeptic Dictionary)
"His core principal [sic] is that people
are geniuses with amazing skills, qualities and talents, and
he hopes he can help as many people as possible to find that out about
themselves. You can get Phil's latest thoughts, self-help tools and
videos for free from his podcast, blog, twitter and Facebook sites."
(LP site on PP)
Ziekenhuis Nijmegen - Natural Home of
the Lying ProcessTM
your whee-whees cuddled...
Bees, of Johnson, of Brain Tapping and more
- Dr. Esther
Crawley is a genius
(New Age) psychotherapies (in the Skeptic Dictionary)
"What is ‘be-ing’? It’s very simple - almost too simple; it's just what
it appears to be - it’s just be-ing - it’s the place present just
before thought… a place of stillness and peace that spiritual
practitioners (and philosophers) assert is who we really are - a place
of grace. When we are just be-ing in the moment things come
naturally….things they flow more…..If you’re an athlete and you inhabit
be-ing you’re a star…if you're unhealthy and you inhabit being - you
are at peace." (Cort Johnson)
- Be your Be-ing for hav-ing Wellness - Cort's
Anyway.... here is the
brief general formulaic description of Fraudian psychoanalysis, Charcotian
bogosity, Breuerian delusions and posturing AND Reeves,
Wessely's and Bleijenberg's lies, postures and fraudulence:
eventually came to the conclusion that many of his patients were
suffering from a form of hysteria which had been induced by their
emotional response to a traumatic accident in their past – such as a
fall from a scaffold or a railway crash. They suffered, in his view,
not from the physical effects of the accident, but from the idea they
had formed of it.
was immensely impressed by Charcot’s work on traumatic hysteria and
took from it the notion that one of the principal forms of neurosis
came about when a traumatic experience led to process of unconscious
(Richard Webster, on Freud and Charcot)
They called it over the past
130 years "hysteria", neurasthenia, "conversion disorder",
"psychosomatic", "somatisation disorder", "complex" or "simple
somatisation disorder", but the intellectual and moral schema is
every time precisely the same psychiatric
psychiatrists can't explain it, so therefore you patients must be
making it up"
The reason psychiatrists and
psychotherapists say so and have said so is that they are dishonest,
pretentious, out for money, and far less interested in your
well being than they publicly claim they are; the reason psychiatrists
and psychotherapists can get away with it is the same as religious
scams are so often succesful: Mundus vult decipi, especially
where they fear things about which they are ignorant.
Finally, there are good psychologists and psychiatrists, as
there are good people: In a minority, and often discriminated.
One way to recognize them by is that while they are clearly more
intelligent and erudite than most, they also do not pretend
knowledge they have not and indeed cannot have, the state of science
being what it is.
And see my A realistic numerical look at human
morality + 12 references.
Corrections have to be made later. And the short summary is: You can not
trust psychiatrists or psychologists who lack a demonstrable ready
knowledge of philosophy of science and mathematics - especially not if
they make money from you, or expound their pseudoscience to the public,
'educated' or not.
And if they have not read
Stegmüller, or something comparable (which there isn't, in four
volumes, of that level of preciseness and clarity), you can be
morally certain they are bullshitting you or deluding themselves -
and the more intelligent ones are certainly bullshitting you, if only
because it is not that difficult to see through and because they do
make fine well paying careers with it.
And this also applies to the
editors of the DSM-5: Frauds like Freud, I must conclude, having
considered the evidence of his and their published work.