You know this old debate: why are we still reading Plato? Haven’t they figured out free will yet? Will they ever? Don’t the philosophers obsess too much over very old texts?
My opinion is that there is significant and ongoing progress in philosophy, we just don’t always name it as such. Here is a list of just a few breakthroughs in our philosophic understanding of the world, noting that part of our philosophic maturation is not to care so much anymore as to whether it is called philosophy:
1. Behavioral economics and much of cognitive psychology.
2. A much improved understanding of entropy, information, and information theory.
3. A much better understanding of human neurodiversity and its import..
4. The accumulated wisdom concerning cultural differences and similarities, as taken from anthropological investigations. You will note that like many recent advances in philosophy, this cannot be found in any one single place.
5. Progress on cosmology and “the theory of everything” and even if you are cynical about the current state of affairs it is far better than say 1850.
6. A deeper understanding of the power and also limits of mathematics.
7. Having digested and then also spit out much of Freudian analysis, but we did learn something along the way.
8. The more philosophical sides of neuroscience, some of which of course are discussed by professional philosophers too.
9. A better understanding of man’s relation to the (non-human) animals.
10. Many ways of thinking about the environment — not all of them correct — have flowered only in relatively recent times.
11. Economics, and what we have learned from economic imperialism, including its failures.
12. Singapore, and in fact most other places/polities in the world.
13. Most literary works are understood much better today than they were in earlier eras.
14. Musical languages are far better developed and better understood.
15. Development of an “internet way of thinking.”
16. Much greater incorporation of the insights of women into philosophy, and many other formerly underrepresented groups too.
So our philosophic understanding of the world is far, far deeper than it was in the time of the so-called classic philosophers, whoever you might take those to be. If “philosophy” has advanced by collaborating with other disciplines and the sciences, so much the better, and most of the “great philosophers” themselves would have approved of this. And of course that list of sixteen items could be much, much longer.