And yet, Neal Stephenson made an interesting distinction between "geeking out" and "vegging out":
"To geek out on something means to immerse yourself in its details to an extent that is distinctly abnormal - and to have a good time doing it. To veg out, by contrast, means to enter a passive state and allow sounds and images to wash over you without troubling yourself too much about what it all means."
It is not a failed philosophical endeavor, and there are still philosophers engaged in the field. It had an early period beginning in the 1930s, and another strong period from the '50s-70s. It has been helpful to the understanding and development of probability theory, and continues to be applied and investigated, including in current scientific experimentation.
The rise of quantum computing has created another contemporary dimension to the field.
As it is, it grapples with properly understanding and formulating logic and correct perceptions and descriptions of the world by building on classical logic in light of developments in quantum mechanics. I doubt we'll see it 'fail' and fade into obscurity anytime soon. It's not exactly Cartesian philosophy.
Nitpick: Cartesian philosophy might be obscure, but I don't think it's a failed theory in the sense that, say, the phlogiston theory of combustion is a failed theory.
Even if it was ultimately discarded by philosophers, it allowed the modern field of epistemology to develop (which wouldn't have really been possible previously), and (arguably) contributed to the development of physics by excluding our mental vocabulary (thoughts, experiences, beliefs, etc.) from the study of the physical world. At the expense of our ability to understand said mental vocabulary perhaps, but an improvement on what had been thought previously.
I'd compare it to how a particular module in a program might be important for some time, since it provides some basic functionality that is required in order to develop the rest of the program, but that after some time is no longer needed and refactored out in favour of something more sophisticated.
Of course, and my apologies because I was unclear with my language. I was using Cartesianism as an example of faded, not failed, philosophical field. That was rather foolish of me to word it so lazily. Thanks for the nitpick and pointing out all the great things that resulted.
Cartesian dualism (aka substance dualism, the idea that mind and body are distinct objects) isn't particularly popular in mainstream philosophy. Property dualism on the other hand (the idea that eg., mental states and physical states can't be fully explained in terms of each other, but that people possess both) is quite popular.
Why do you close it? I also use windows, never have more tabs than I can read their titles, and never close Firefox (except when some js crashes it, like browserstack.com)
Firefox is my browsing (err) browser (I like tag bookmarks too much).
I use chrome to develop with as I like their tools much better than firebug which, to me, is very slow in comparison. Chrome I close out relaunch semi-frequently (crtl-w spam, oops), but still keep it open, because why not?