6/28/10

What is Philosophy?

Alexander George asks today at The Stone, and then gets some truly abysmal comments.  Toward the end of the essay he writes--

So--you're doing philosophy by asking "what is philosophy?"  But I would suggest that this is not the first philosophy you ought to "do."  If you haven't already done other philosophy, you're not in a position to fruitfully contemplate what philosophy is.  That, I hypothesize, is the problem in the comment section.  All signs are that readers are trying to characterize a discipline they've never really engaged in. 

Here's a sampling of the nonsense over there--


Maybe The Stone isn't really the best place for the nature of philosophy to be discussed?

4 comments:

amos said...

At least they don't give you hemlock to drink these days.

Faust said...

"But I would suggest that this is not the first philosophy you ought to "do." If you haven't already done other philosophy, you're not in a position to fruitfully contemplate what philosophy is."

Elaborate?

Is there a specific type of philosophy that one must "do" before being able to comment on philosophy in general?

Or will Sartre work just as well as Russel? Leibniz just as well as Hume? Does one have to read extensively on the history of philosophy? Or learn the ins and outs of logic?

In the case of Wittgenstein (and other exceptional cases), did he follow the approved course of "doing" the correct philosophy prior to commenting on it? Or is it really just that while commenting on it he really was doing it, where "doing" it means fruitfully commenting on a set of philosophical questions deemed relevant by the community of philosophers active at the time? Or better: offering an even more interesting set of question to pursue? Or offering new methods by which old questions can be dissolved?

Wayne said...

Maybe the Internet isn't really the best place for anything that you want taken completely seriously to be discussed.

Anonymous said...

It's funny because if people understood the import of philosophy they'd realise their tired exhortations to logical positivism are untenable. Untenable, that is, in reality -- where theory does, in fact, inform and play a role.

Do people really think the concept of, for instance, assumed objectivity (developed by Haslanger) -- essentially, the mistaking of social or moral norms for thing's natures -- to be of no use practically?