Colin McGinn appears to argue in today’s NY Times that the academic discipline of philosophy should change its name. The name he prefers is “ontics.” Such a name would help us distinguish ourselves from the humanities and claim our rightful place as a science. The main advantage seems to be two-fold: All sort of useful people would take us more seriously, and It would be clear that unlike the humanities, philosophy is largely not concerned with human cculture. No, seriously. That’s what he says. Of course, it could be antics, not ontics, that we’re seeing here. I mean, does anyone really think the idea of a knowable perfectly objective reality utterly independent of human thought is a good starting point?
Opppss! Yes, of course they do. See the last three of these five posts.. In fact, McGinn thinks that with the exception of aesthetics and ethics, no philosophy is concerned with human culture. Presumably we can infer what he thinks feminist philosophy and critical race theory are not. Ditto philosophy of science. And so on. But see for your self:
… Someone might protest that we belong to the arts and humanities, not the sciences, and certainly we are currently so classified. But this is an error, semantically and substantively. The dictionary defines both “arts” and “humanities” as studies of “human culture”—hence like English literature or art history. But it is quite false that philosophy studies human culture, as opposed to nature (studied by the sciences); only aesthetics and maybe ethics fall under that heading. Metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of physics and so on deal not with human culture but with the natural world. We deal with the same things the sciences deal with — the world beyond human culture. To classify philosophy as one of the “humanities” is grossly misleading — it isn’t even much about the human.
.. .The dictionary defines “philosophy” as “the study of the fundamental nature of reality, knowledge and existence.” We can simplify this definition by observing that all three cited areas are types of being: objective reality obviously is, but so is knowledge, and so also are meaning, consciousness, value and proof, for example. These are simply things that are.
So we study the fundamental nature of what is — being.