Ten Problems for Philosophy in the 2020s

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Literature Review: Philosophy Problems for the 2020s

Philosophers and other theorists have developed the field of epistemology which is the study of human knowledge. Critical race theorists have begun to explore how epistemological theory and insights may illuminate the study of race, including the analysis of race and the law. Such use of epistemology is appropriate because theoretical work on knowledge can be used to advance one of the key goals of critical race theory which is to understand how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America [1].

Are African heritage and philosophy expected to fit into the currents of the contemporary era [2]? Is African Philosophy and/or African Heritage really ‘De-positioned’? Who De-positioned African Philosophy / Heritage and with what instrumentalities? Are the so-called ‘Science Wars’ still on course? Are the so-called intransigencies of apathy and fix-logy through established orthodoxy still operational? Are Africans and others still parading in the equivocations of anti-alterity epistemologies? Who is still asking the question whether there is any philosophy called ‘African Philosophy’ and why?

Scientific objectivity is a key characteristic of research in any branch of science. These problems are especially characteristic of the social sciences, where the possibilities of applying the methods of quantitative analysis have long been limited by the capabilities of computational algorithms. The development of quantitative methods not only expanded the research methodology in the social sciences, but also gradually replaced some of the approaches based on the philosophical method to obtaining new knowledge, standardizing approaches to generalizing new knowledge, formulating and testing hypotheses [3].

This paper examines three cases of the clash between science and philosophy: Zeno’s paradoxes, the Frame Problem, and a recent attempt to experimentally refute skepticism. In all three cases, the relevant science claims to have resolved the purported problem. The sciences, construing the term broadly, are mathematics, artificial intelligence, and psychology. The goal of this paper is to show that none of the three scientific solutions work. The three philosophical problems remain as vibrant as ever in the face of robust scientific attempts to dispel them [4]. The paper concludes by examining some consequences of this persistence.

Like philosophy in Quine’s words, education is “losing contact with the people.” Education suffers this loss in part because education has lost contact with philosophy. The paper first addresses the relations between philosophy and science. Nietzsche is a primary guide on this question. While his elitism must be dismissed, his apocalyptic vision of philosophy may help students become more deeply engaged in all levels of schooling. The paper’s second concern is whether philosophy can be infused into all other subjects. The conclusion considers whether it is practical to teach philosophy to all students. Schooling that democratizes philosophy can reveal that many more human beings are gifted than we could have imagined [5].

Starting from such general references, this booklet identifies ten relevant areas from very recent contributions put forward at academic level in the form journal articles, conference proceedings and students’ theses. Ten freely accessible internet references have been selected for each area and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our selected references do not intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, diverse and scientifically-sound case studies for vertical dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also be able to scoop even more references through the bibliography that is reported at the end of each selected reference.

Without further ado, these are the “Ten Problems for Philosophy in the 2020s” that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. religion,
  2. knowledge,
  3. logic,
  4. nature,
  5. mind,
  6. moral,
  7. experience,
  8. identity,
  9. political,
  10. science.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introductory section, a short presentation of the ten selected references and a conclusions section.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter again in order to provide a complete executive summary.


[1] G.A. Martinez, “Law, Race, and the Epistemology of Ignorance”, 2020, 17 HASTINGS RACE & POVERTY L.J. 507, online at

[2] J.I. Okonkwo, “Creating More Space for African Philosophy: Problems and Prospects”, 2017, Journal of African Traditional Religion and Philosophy, Volume 1, Number 1, pp. 7-23, online at

[3] O.A. Smirnov, “The philosophical problems of the scientific objectivity of the application of quantitative methods in the social sciences”, 2019, Context and Reflection: Philosophy of the World and Human Being. 2019, Vol. 8, Is. 5A, online at

[4] E. Dietrich, “When Science Confronts Philosophy: Three Case Studies”, 2020, Axiomathes, doi: , online at

[5] C.C. Verharen, “Democratizing Philosophy: School for Life, Life for School”, 2020, Athens Journal of Education – Volume 7, Issue 2, May 2020 – Pages 139-152, online at

“Ten Problems for Philosophy in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2020; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page