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Archive 1

Encyclopedic Style?[edit]

This isn't very encylclopedic- "Philosophy is interesting in its own right,"IceDragon64 (talk) 23:49, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Except that philosophy is interesting in its own right. Although philosophy (particularly philosophy based on rational intuition or pure thought alone) has often been denigrated for lack of practical applications, it needs no such justification. One can study philosophy simply because it is interesting in its own right, just like one can study various mathematical structures of pure mathematics, simply because these structures are interesting in their own right. One can indeed simply study something for the sake of its own intrinsic interest, and there is nothing about this notion that compromises encyclopedic integrity. John Aiello (talk) 04:40, 17 March 2013 (UTC)
I saw this criticism, and I thought about it for quite a while. I think the issue is 'what does it mean for something to be "of interest."' In this case, you shouldn't interpret it as "Yay! philosophy is great!" Rather, you should interpret it as just being the objects of study that the scholar is paying attention to. When a logician constructs logical systems, he or she has to choose the axioms that he or she wants to use in the system. So how is this done? The logician uses axioms that have qualities "that the logician is interested in." I wouldn't take this as a non-encyclopedic characterization. Greg Bard (talk) 08:48, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Recent edits[edit]

I would like to comment on an edit by Gregbard. The edit summary was, "this article isn't the place for trying to support the legitimacy of Rand as a philosopher / It isn't a noncontroversial claim." The edit summary implies that the edit was made because of Gregbard's view of Ayn Rand. The effect of the edit, however, was to restore the following text, which has nothing to do with Rand: "There is a sense in which every human being is a philosopher, if they accept a very humanistic and generous interpretation. This is to say that every human being has a unique contribution of ideas to the society." I assume that Gregbard simply made this edit by mistake. Presumably, he saw that I restored Ayn Rand to the list of female philosophers in the article, and tried to revert me, but instead reverted a completely different and unrelated edit of mine. If this is the case, I would like to ask Gregbard to edit a little more carefully in future. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:44, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

If, however, Gregbard does believe that the text he restored is legitimate, then let me point out what is wrong with it. It is an ungrammatical and poorly written statement that, insofar as it asserts anything coherent at all, is wrong. It is not true that there is a sense in which every human being is a philosopher, and it is not true that every human being makes a unique contribution of ideas to society. (Additionally, the statement was unsupported by any reference or citation, not surprisingly). FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:54, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

On the totally different question of whether Ayn Rand was a philosopher, let me say simply that I have no interest in debating the matter. I confine my comments to two observations. First, I agree with the IP editor who originally added Rand that she should be listed here, so Gregbard is outnumbered and is in no position to remove Rand. Second, Rand is not the only person in the article who has been accused of not being a real philosopher. The same accusation of being a non-real philosopher was made against Judith Butler by Martha Nussbaum, whose credentials as a real philosopher are, I'm sure, beyond question. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:09, 10 September 2013 (UTC)


If one is going to bother to talk about the "motivations" of philosophers, something that is surely contested and diverse, then the "motives" should be evidenced by historical examples, or examples of philosophers who have lived, and have been known as philosophers. That would be well-evidenced, at least.

The comment that "a philosopher does not determine the value of an idea by the diversity of its applications" is an ideological comment about what a philosopher can do, and is not philosophical at all.

A temporary solution is that

"a philosopher does not determine the value of an idea by the diversity of its applications...alone, but rather the philosopher realizes an analysis of how a given idea or concept can be said to "work", or produce new consequences, within a set of contingent cause and effect relationships. Tallmat (talk) 15:42, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Note some instances of tautology sneaking into the text as well. The study of "philosophy itself" for example. Or in the sentence below...

"The value of an idea, or of studying the interpretation of an idea, lies in the very existence of that idea and in the fact of our ability to study it.

There are strange referential claims that occur in contemporary forms of writing. Its a good attempt, but I have something to offer here. For example, value, existence, and reality are contested terms that cannot be realized in some philosophical critiques. The sentence can be reworded to a more reflexively philosophical and general statement. I've made an attempt here... "The usefulness of an idea, and studying the interpretation of an idea, is situated within the historical events that gave possibility to the idea, and in the potential to study how these ideas can work to shape our lives. How we think about what counts as real, affects and conditions the way that we interact and think. Philosophers often seek to identify and analyze the consequences of ideas and concepts."

It's wordy, but at least its more cogent and generalized to disparate philosophical traditions. Please problematize. Tallmat (talk) 17:04, 26 January 2014 (UTC)


I've changed it so there are three pictures: Plato, Confucius, and Hypatia. I think it is best not to include pictures of anyone contemporary as pretty much anyone contemporary is controversial. My personal bias is if you study something called "X theory" you are not a philosopher. Anyway, if I were to put up a contemporary woman philosopher it would be Anscombe, so that's my bias. Plato and Confucius are two of the most important philosophers ever so they should be entirely uncontroversial. Hypatia is sufficiently ancient that she should be uncontroversial, and I'd argue from what we know about her she's more interesting than Butler or Elisabeth of Bohemia.

Agree. - DVdm (talk) 09:50, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Should this article be merged with Philosophy ?[edit]

Any thoughts? This article is weak and unsourced while the other is in good shape. SPECIFICO talk 18:11, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

I would be strongly opposed to merging it just based on the existence of Mathematician, Scientist, Engineer, etcetera. I think the profession of doing philosophy stands in need of explanation to the average person even more than any of those.Greg Bard (talk) 19:15, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Oppose per Greg. --Netoholic @ 00:47, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

A correction[edit]

The first sentence of the 2nd paragraph has an error. Below is a partial quotation with the correction highlighted in bold text:

"According to John R. Shook, a philosopher is any intellectual who...[etc]" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:53, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

fixed, thanks. --Netoholic @ 18:27, 7 July 2014 (UTC)