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Two questions. It seems that no one has figured out good standards for acceptance or rejection of philosophical arguments. In science, observation is king. If evidence contradicts a theory under careful conditions, the theory is false. In math, we justify things formally; we cannot expect more certainty. So would you agree that philosophy, as a field that aims at knowledge and not something else like evoking emotions, suffers from a lack of standards? And since at the moment I suspect it does, I want to ask also, why do philosophers act so certain? To them their arguments are true or correct (or whatever) without empirical evidence or rigorous proof. They should be the most uncertain people of all, even more so than scientists. And they are pretty darn humble. (A better way to ask this might be, aren't proof and evidence the two best ways to knowledge? If so, shouldn't philosophers be much more uncertain than they appear (to me)? I now realize it's dependent on how I see things, so I only hope you can...

The kinds of reasons that are given for favoring one scientific theory over its rivals are a good deal more subtle than "observation is king." To begin with, a theory need not be justly rejected merely because it conflicts with a given observation; sometimes, the observation is appropriately doubted, and sometimes, a given theory is rationally retained despite its failure to fit our observations because blame for the mismatch is placed on other theories ("auxiliary hypotheses") that were used to bring the theory to bear on those observations. (The Copernican model of the solar system, for instance, was retained despite 300 years of failure to observe the stellar parallax it apparently predicts.) By the same token, a theory that fits our observations very well may nevertheless be justly and emphatically rejected on the grounds that it is ad hoc, fails to fit nicely with our other theories, lacks unity or fruitfulness or explanatory power, etc. Once these familiar features of scientific practice...

If philosophy does not yield empirical predictions like science or certain truths like math or logic, what does it do? I have heard of "clarification of concepts" but science and math do that, too.

Does there need to be a single, particular contribution that philosophical research makes and other disciplines fail ito make? Of course, science and math clarify concepts and contribute to making empirical predictions. Philosophical research does all of that, too, from time to time. I don't think there needs to be an interesting answer to "What does philosophy do?" that distinguishes philosophy from science and math. All are in pursuit of truth. Philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians are trained somewhat differently, often have somewhat different tools in their toolkits, and come out of somewhat (though overlapping) traditions and so will generally be familiar with different argumentative moves. But these may be differences in degree, not in kind.