Adam I. Gerard

Default Views

My impressions about what people that aren't philosophers think and what philosophers think (about the world).

(Also, what I thought before I became a philosopher.)

The Default View

The default world-view people "naively" (hey, it's not my term) advocate is probably:

  1. Subjectivism - "Because I really feel that something's true, it is." e.g. - "I really believe the magical fairy dragon is true, therefore it is."
  2. Naive Realism/direct realism - "What I experience is identified with what's real" (rather than being a mere representation).
  3. Quasi-Materialism - matter is the primary substance besides people (which have immaterial souls). Somehow these interact.
  4. Dualism - that human beings are immaterial souls and not animals, nervous systems, or psychologically-continuous beings.
  5. Money Realism - money is the highest value and is not merely a social construct (though valuable).
  6. Logical Anti-realism - logic is irrelevant and not useful.
  7. Knowledge is perfect memory retrieval - knowledge is perfect memory retrieval.
  8. Philosophy is a set of beliefs - philosophy is set of personal opinions or beliefs.
  9. Theories are just beliefs - theories are just beliefs or opinions.
  10. Mathematical Fictionalism or Formalism - Mathematical objects are constructed, mathematical languages are invented and not discovered. They are purely social constructs with no objective existence.
  11. Folk Psychology - beliefs, feelings, emotions are objectively real and not impressions, useful heuristics, terms of art, or artifacts of speech.


I'd say the default view endorsed by most academics in philosophy is:

  1. Moral Realism - moral norms are objectively true because they derive from habits/nature, calculations of consequence, and/or immutable/absolute (divine or universal) laws.
  2. Representationalism - "What I experience is identified with a mere representation" - e.g. - what I directly experience is only what the brain constructs for me.
  3. Materalism - still dominant overall, this view has been rejected by most philosophers of science.
  4. Materalism - that human beings are material - animals, nervous systems, or psychologically-continuous beings with no (known) survival after bodily death.
  5. Money Constructivism - money is a public good created by laws and enforced through regulation.
  6. Logical Realism - logic is the highest structure to reality, it constrains what's possible and actual. It determines the greatest plentitude of permutations in nature. It's the space from which possible physical structures are selected (the physical is a subset of the logical). Most philosophers still endorse Logical Monism (there is only one true logic) while most logicians are Pluralists (there are many logics, each which describes different realms of reality, and they are largely not human constructs - they are discovered/are descriptions or define optimal patterns of inference).
  7. Knowledge is Justified True Belief - knowledge divides into knowledge-how (how to do something) and knowlege-that (why something is the way it is or works the way it does). Both are useful (techne) but philosophy is most concerned with knowledge-that (historically-speaking). The dominant view is that philosophy is justified (supported by [deductive] proof and/or evidence), true, belief (a mental state held in a mind - currently or not).
  8. Philosophy is Pretty Worthless or Whatever - surprisingly most philosophers don't hold philosophy that highly. Often the very best philosophers are the most ferocious critics of it (Wittgenstein lambasted metaphysics, Kant attacked Platonic knowledge, Nietzsche attacked Descartes and Plato, Hegel thought Kant got it wrong, etc.).
  9. Theories are Sets of Sentences - theories are sets of sentences that are consistent and made true by a model. The so-called "syntactic-view". The new view in the philosophy of science (which hasn't caught on yet elsewhere) is that theories are mathematical structures (and not just sets of sentences).
  10. Mathematical Platonism - mathematical objects are real and independent of any language or idea. They are discovered through language systems and proofs.
  11. Folk Psychology - beliefs, feelings, emotions are objectively real and not impressions, useful heuristics, terms of art, or artifacts of speech.




Note: in the polls above (circa 2010 or thereabouts) some of the groupings I list are broken into more fine-grained theories - each of the views above have intricate sub-components. However, I think you'll find that the polls align with my impressions almost to a T!

Note: the polls and my impressions above are circa 2010 or so. Perhaps a few views have shifted slightly into dominance since that time.

Cool Resources

  1. Foundational Questions Institute (FQXI) - A huge organization of most Nobel laureates in physics, a few philosophers of science, and several mathematicians.
  2. - Large multi-disciplinary group with Bill Gates and others on the board.
  3. TED Talks - Lots of philosophers involved. Great exchange of ideas.
  4. Kurzgesagt - Great philosophy and science videos covering common topics.
  5. Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) - Oxford School of Business and national security.
  6. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - The main encyclopedia kept and maintained by a gigantic group of professional philosophers (professors).
  7. Philosophers in Business - Many widely-known billionaires and CEO's have philosophy degrees.
  8. American Philosophical Association (APA) - The main professional philosophy group in the USA.
  9. Nous Journal - One of the most famous journals - dates back to the late 1800's?
  10. Mind Journal - One of the most famous journals - dates back to the late 1800's?
  11. Philosophical Gourmet - Graduate school rankings as ranked by philosophy professors.
  12. SciImago - Philosophy journals ranked by citations and general prestige.