Stupid Philosopher Tricks

Taner is going to love this one. I’ve made a short list of some of the stupidest things philosophers have said over the millennia. Each of these claims has been seriously maintained by one or more major philosophers (in parentheses). Each is not only false, but obviously so. As the late philosophical iconoclast and maverick (if John McCain has not ruined this word) D.C. Stove used to ask: What is wrong with our thoughts?

1) Matter does not exist.

2) Atheists are less trustworthy than theists.

3) Time is unreal.

4) Change is impossible.
(Parmenides, Zeno)

5) This world is the best of all possible worlds.

6) Animals have no thoughts or feelings.

7) Nothing could have happened other than it did.

8) You cannot know that you are in pain.

9) There are no such things as pains.
(the Churchlands)

10) We perceive only sense-data.

11) When someone speaks in a native tongue that is historically unrelated to yours, you can never know what he or she means.

12) Worlds are constructed by category schemes, and, since humans create category schemes, humans create the world, in fact, many worlds.

13) Truth is whatever society lets you say.

14) Saying “God does not exist” is self-contradictory.

15) It is always wrong to lie, even if lying saves an innocent life.

16) You cannot learn from experience.

17) Humans are naturally good, but are corrupted by society.

18) Virtue cannot be taught.

19) Women are less rational than men.

20) Evil is merely a privation of good.