Sometimes (well, all the time), philosophical problems can be very deep and infect a whole system of thought. There are all sorts of problems in any (philosophical or otherwise) system. How is it that there are small problems in the classical mechanics story for instance, or how is it that we find the old Aristotelian system slowly failing to explain and refer; or that we find the old notion of Newtonian biology and mechanism replaced by Darwin. Sometimes problems require a revolution of thought to solve them.
We might ask a profound problem of the existence of God, as many many do; the Logical Problem of Evil; for instance. Is this a problem so big that we must abandon the concept of God so as to have an alternative account that sufficiently explains? Or, do we, as sometimes we do, give a forced answer that seems ad hoc and very piecemeal, yet added to a grand system but overcomplicates things in such a way that violates parsimony.
It is parsimony here that I appeal so; in serious conceptual problems of any given system, we may have two options:
1. Refine the system, or add several propositions to defend the theory
2. Abandon the theory and use new axioms, definitions, and postulates to explain what the previous system failed to do.
Here’s my thought: what are band aid solutions to deep wounded problems? Furthermore, what kind of deep wounded problems can we have as candidates for this? Here are some suggestions:
- Mathematical fictionalism – answering the denial of realism, and the alternative that legitimates the usage of mathematical properties
- Theodicy – nuff said
- Evolution and Christian belief – is any solution a band aid to commensurate these?
- Conceptual incommensurabilities: EPR Paradox?, the lack of common metric for Mill’s ‘higher and lower pleasures’ in Utilitarianism
- Answers to the problem of epistemic scepticism: Moore’s proof of the external world – is it satisfactory?
- The problem of identity over time: is there really a problem (cf. Merricks 1994); and if so, can it be solved?
- Paradox cases in any given system; e.g. the birthday paradox in statistics