I disagree, The. If you have a Cartesian view of the human person, you are going to have very different things to say about "resource distribution, social concerns, &c," than if you were to have say...Hume's or Mill's.
Descartes says that the human person is a "res cogitans," entirely set apart from all other creatures in this respect. Animals are but automatons. If you hold this view, you're certainly not going to join PETA (I am something of a Cartesian in this respect).
If you are a Lockean, you are going to have a very different view of property rights than if you are...I don't know...a Marxist.
Furthermore, your view of "The History of Philosophy" is far too narrow. By "The History of Philosophy," I mean everyone from Thales to Heidegger, from Plato to the French Continentals. These different philosophers have a whole lot to say individually about a -lot- of different subjects, not to mention when you look at the entire scope of the history of philosophy.
Simply put, I think you are wrong when you say that our predecessors aren't able to help us in our modern concerns. There are no new problems, The. If there appear to be "new" problems, they're actually old problems in modern dress.
"Resource distribution"? What's your view of property rights? If you are a Kantian or a Lockean, you'll have different stuff to say about "resource distribution" than if you are a Marxist or a Utilitarian. Mill says to do whatever leads to the happiness (defined as the satisfaction of desires) of the greatest number, whereas Locke tells us that there is no "right" distribution system. There's only "right" modes of transaction. What "resource distribution"? This thing is mine. I have mixed my labor with it, or I have gained it by a lawful contract. What right do you have to take this from me, this, to which I have an inalienable right of property?
"Social concerns"? What's your view of the human person? If you view the human person as a part of nature, like Spinoza, then you are going to have a very different view of these social issues than if like Kant and like the Doctors and Fathers of the Church, you view man as being called to a supernatural end, since he is created in the image and likeness of God.
"Environmental issues"? Locke says "No spoilage." Are you a Lockean?
I am sure you can see where I am going with this.