If there IS philosophical progress, is it worthwhile to read philosophy that was written before you were born? Isn't the most current understanding of philosophy the most valid? For example, we now know Newtonian physics is false at the quantum level; wouldn't it stand to reason that after two hundred years Kant's moral philosophy has been refined or superceded and should not be followed in its entirety?
If there is NOT any philosophical progress and philosophical questions are inherently unresolvable, then is the entire field of philosophy futile? If philosophers can't even agree on what the aims of philosophy are, then does that mean Marx's philosophy is as equally valid for people to follow as that of Aristotle's?
I agree with Ian for similar reasons (see my Unsolvable Problems and Philosophical Progress ) So, because we both agree that there is philosophical progress, is it worthwhile to read philosophy that was written before you were born? Yes, for at least two reasons: First, of course, some of that philosophy might consist of good reasoning that has not been improved upon. Saying that philosophy progresses doesn't mean that old philosophy is "wrong" in any way (any more than saying that science progresses doesn't mean that old science is "wrong"). Second, philosophy is best thought of as a conversation that has been going on for at least 2500 years. One of the best ways of joining that conversation is to read "transcripts" of its earlier stages.