Talk:Outline of philosophy

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there is no consensus that rand or randianism is part of philosophy, and thus more specifically, her work should not be considered basic philosophy. it is very clear that she is not 'influential' like others on that list. --Buridan 13:06, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Buridan, you are just repeating one of your unsubstantiated personal opinions.
Inclusion in Wikipedia is coverd by Notability, and Verification. Here's a link to a cover story from Time Magazine in which Ayn Rand is referred to as a philosopher:,9171,995368,00.html. That makes her notably a philosopher.
That verifiable source of Notability specifically mentions 'influential'- a Times magazine article that calls her a philosopher who 'influenced' Alan Greenspan. But then you already know that don't you - you said "it is not clear that objectivist philosophy through the guise of friedman and greenspan's neoliberalism has not killed tens of millions of poor around the world."1

I can't believe it! You actually imply Rand's philosophy killed millions of people?
Some academics don't like Rand but honestly admit she is influential despite what they see as the low quality of her work. Other academics and millions of people in the general populace see her as influential because of the high quality of her work. Your absurd statement in the page's Marxism section of Objectivism somehow being linked to the murder of 10 million people would make her infamously influential. But I hope others will see how you will say anything to 'justify' deleting Rand. Steve 01:54, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Think steve, that's all I ask you to do. i was rhetorically responding to your response. gee whiz. In any case, for Rand on this template we have the qualifier of 'influential' she is not influential. you won't find any citations that say she is influential to all of philosophy. there are no such citations so far, so if you want to include her that's fine. but find a citation that says she is 'influenced philosophy'--Buridan 18:09, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Buridan... First, it wasn't me you were responding to (go check). Second, does the word 'rhetorically' included in your sentence above mean you don't have to be responsible for any of your claims? Third, your comment makes no sense because I did give a citation. A time magazine cover story that stated Ayn Rand is an influential philosopher (your tricky little request for a citation saying she 'influenced philosophy' is NOT what's asked for.) And you are telling me to think!  :-) There have been many other sources quoted - admit it, you think Rand's philosophy is so horrible that it "...may have killed tens of millions". (I still can't believe you said that) And with that kind of personal POV you will delete her everywhere you see her and no citations will ever stop you. Steve 21:48, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Buridan, your removal of Rand from this list lacks consensus. You need to build consensus for a modification that others are opposed to. Rand has been on this list for a long time, and your removal of related links is opposed. Under this circumstance, only consensus can remove them. You don't have consensus. Please leave the Rand-related links alone until you do. The Transhumanist 09:38, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

One does not need consensus to remove fiction. I'll leave the randianism, but Rand is not an influential philosopher until a citation, verifiable and unbiased is provided that says that she is.--Buridan 18:09, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Not fiction. Citation was provided on this very page. Didn't you see it? I still can't get over your claim that Rand's philosophy may have killed tens of millions of people. Steve 21:48, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
Buridan, you actually do need consensus unless you are reverting vandalism or patent nonsense. Ayn Rand was added to this list in good faith, based on her substantial presense on the Internet and in mainstream media. Students enrolled in philosophy courses are likely to be exposed to her during their studies. It follows that she should be covered here so that they can compare her with other writers of philosophy. The Transhumanist 06:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
saying rand is an influential philosophy or has influenced philosophy is patent nonsense. she was an author that has a following that she has influenced, very few of which are philosophers, none of which were influential philosophers, barring nozick who later said he wished he had never dealt with her material. --Buridan 14:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
Buridan, you have stated your POV. Here is yet another valid, respected, verifiable source: Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Ph.D, visiting professor at NYU, writes, "Ayn Rand is one of the most widely read philosophers of the twentieth century." This is in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, page 1. This is a book-length, scholarly work that examines Ayn Rand's philosophic thought. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by SteveWolfer (talkcontribs) 18:39, 13 January 2007 (UTC).
please find an unbiased source. that one is clearly biased and is trying to make the argument that rand is a philosophy and ends up affirming the consequent more than actually making any positive argument. We can't start from the premise that rand is a philosopher to show she is a philosopher, we need solid unbiased evidence. --Buridan 00:11, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Buridan, Sciabarra is a rock-solid source. His credentials are in order. You need to show something other than your personal opinions or 'rhetoric'. You have been given one source after another. Admit it - you will NEVER accept ANY source. The most important of all of the WP policies is the absolute requirement that all editor's honor 'valid, respectable, verifiable sources.' Where are your sources? Why don't you go find the source that supports your claim that Objectivism killed tens of millions of people? Steve 18:00, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Rand is being examined more and more by main-stream professors at major universities. Here is another source: Wallace Matson, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley, an Analytic Philosopher who disagrees with part of Rand's epistemology and agrees with much of it and stated that her work (referring to the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology) was worth serious study. His review of Rand's epistemology theories is in The Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 1986. Steve 18:15, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Is Buridan on an anti-Rand crusade?[edit]

The following comment was copied from the Template:Philosophy navigation's talk page": "Buridan has been removing Ayn Rand, her philosophy Objectivism, and her books from various philosophy lists around Wikipedia. He has been rather forceful wherever he's done this. See List of basic philosophy topics, List of philosophers born in the twentieth century, Template:Philosophy topics, Timeline of Western philosophers, and List of publications in philosophy (he removed her books from the list), to name a few." That comment was left by The Transhumanist. Steve 18:45, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Buridan (on this page). Rand does not belong here. Neither she nor her philosophy is a fundamental topic in philosophy; she is only a very, very fringe figure. KSchutte 19:25, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Those items have been on the list since November of 2005. Their removal lacks consensus. Both Steve Wolfer and I oppose deletion of these two items.   The Transhumanist 02:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


Somebody should probably pare down this list. There are lots of things included on the list apparently only because they end in -ism, but aren't really basic topics. KSchutte 19:55, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

My suggestion would be for all of us to fight for a less 'exclusionary' approach on a page like this. Where there is controversy and where people have provided valid, verifiable sources - we shouldn't delete. Otherwise the word 'basic' becomes a POV issue that can only be answered by origonal research. That road results in either endless edit wars or the deletion of the list. That is what happened with the List of major philosophers. It is similar to Hayek being deleted from the List of Political philosophers. WP guidelines warns us not to use this kind of adjective in a name or 'standard'. But, here is the thing - these lists ARE useful. People use them to navigate and to learn. I agree with keeping off entries that have no valid sources. Too often an exclusionary approach is fueled by a small number of editors with a bias. It is up to the rest of us to fight that bias and preserve the usefullness of the lists. Steve 21:19, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree with Steve here. If we're speaking of "basic" philosophy topics, then we're speaking of things like "is there an external world?" and "does god exist?", not anything to do with a single movement that has had limited philosophical influence. As far as I can tell, Rand has had plenty of political influence, but her influence on the things that philosophers really do has been slight. (The same, as far as I can tell, also goes for "negritude" and "Pan-Africanism".) { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 17:05, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Another such question would be "what is a philosopher?" Ayn Rand certainly brings that question into question - her article is about the best test case I've been able to find on that question. Is she a philosopher? A pseudo-philosopher? Merely a writer of philosophical novels? Does common English apply to her? Does one go by the definition provided in the dictionary? Who decides who is or is not a philosopher? The common man or woman, or is this reserved for Doctors of Philosophy only? Does having influence over the personal philosophies of large numbers of the general public count? All of these questions come to the fore when reading her article(s) on Wikipedia. Very intellectually stimulating, and rather basic to the whole foundation of philosophy: "what is philosophy?"
Ayn Rand gets a lot of press, and is presented there as a philosopher or at least as a writer of philosophy (a synonym for philosopher, interpretted as such by speakers of common English). Also, as the primary people interested in Rand are students, evidenced by the various student groups supporting her works, it follows that she be included on a list intended for students, as this list is (though non-exclusively of course). Her articles on Wikipedia are interesting, and they provide a good opportunity for students to engage in comparison and critical analysis. And, as mentioned above, since students enrolled in philosophy courses are likely to be exposed to her during their studies. It follows that she should be covered here so that they can compare her with other writers of philosophy. Also, Ayn Rand is one of the few notable female philosophers (or philosophical personages), and as such may be of special interest to female students. She is also a shining example of what happens when you try to buck the system, developing philosophy outside of academia. I believe Ayn Rand and her Objectivism, even though I don't personally agree with them, are topics basic to philosophy in many ways.   The Transhumanist 03:05, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
We must disagree, then, on how to interpret the word "basic". My sense of "basic philosophy" would be stuff like Descartes, Pyrrhonism, the problem of the external world, the rules of skepticism, etc. -- the stuff you really need to know if you're going to have any real sense of the issues at hand. Also, Rand spends a great deal of time reacting against other philosophers, and to that extent she's not at all 'basic'. { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 03:32, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Ben, I would ask you to set aside her reactions against other philosophers and her harsh style to see if she had ANY content that would justify putting her with those who consider the "basic" questions. I am deeply impressed with her approach to universals (but, alas, I have no credentials - so that is just a personal expression).
There is another thing I wanted to mention. You refered to Pan-Africanism and Negritude. They aren't part of the "Isms" but are part of the section called "Philosophical movements of the modern world." That whole section seems kind of messy to me. Tell me if I'm wrong, but some items are more like categories, others like time periods, others are schools or philosophies. As to Modernism, Postmodernism and some of the others - they need to be put somewhere (there, I guess), but I've always wished we had a category labled "Pathology of the body philosophy" - sorry, that's just personal POV. The article has a section labeled "Isms" and it already has "Randianism" and "Libertarianism" and it should have "Objectivism(Ayn Rands Philosophy)".
Then there is the article section labeled "Influential philosophers". Ayn Rand should be there unless the definition of influential is spelled out as having some restricted meaning, like "Influential philosophers in modern academic circles". Because she is quite influential in the common meanings of the word.
Out of respect for those with differing opinions I'm not going to try to put her name in the the Influential section or Objectivism into the movements section. But I'd ask that "Objectivism(Ayn Rands Philosophy)" be accepted as an "Ism" and I hope that in this spirit others will be more open to Rand in some of these lists or at least stronger in opposition to her being deleted everywhere. Steve 04:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
There's a sort of pathology or hierarchy or list of the various kinds of philosophical positions at   The Transhumanist 06:26, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Steve, Wiki policy is to follow academic consensus. While she has been discussed by some philosophers and appeared in some texts (i.e., Pojman), that only (in my estimation) grants her the title of "philosopher". It doesn't mean that she has contributed anything to the ongoing discussion, especially wrt epistemology where her rational influence is nonexistent. Much of what she wrote was reactionary, and what she did espouse was often derivative -- strongly from Nietzsche, for one. "Basic" philosophy would be those who produced essential problems and classic solutions.
I don't think much of this page was created with much forethought. I don't know why modern movements are themselves considered "basic". { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 15:16, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

A few thoughts[edit]

Just looking through this for a first time. I suggest that "deconstructionism" is the more common term for Derrida's work (yes, "deconstructivism" is used, but at the very least both should be given). Branches: "Axiology" is such an uncommon term, even among professional philosophers, that I should have thought Ethics and Aesthetics would be preferable.

Ancient world movements: surely Aristotelianism. Modern: ascribe phenomenology primarily to Husserl rather than just to Heidegger/Sartre. Linguistic philosophy overlaps with analytic, but is worth mentioning. I agree I can't see why Pan-Africanism and Negritude are philosophical movements. And while I can see reasons for including Rand, I can't see why Objectivism is regarded as an "emergent" philosophy - it's almost fifty years old; arguably older than post-structuralism. Hope some of that is helpful. I can make the edits myself, but let's see if there are objections first.KD Tries Again 22:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)KD

No objections from me. I agree with dropping Pan-Africanism and Negritude. I see Objectivism as 'emergent' from the view point of academic philosophy - until her death, given her antagonism for the academy, and her style of writing, there wasn't much interest in looking at her work. Now, with the passage of time that is changing. I'm only concerned that Objectivism isn't 'censored off' the page. Putting Objectivism in either place works for me. Steve 00:26, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
It is no more censorship than failing to include a mention of apples to a page about cars. The matter concerns what is "basic" and what is not. I cannot see how Rand's philosophy is basic in any sense. { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 02:29, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Ben, I'm sorry you aren't more open to any of her concepts. As to this page, I can't get excited about your characterization of it as "what is basic" - Here are some of the things I plucked of the page. Are they "basic"?
  • panpsychism
  • theological noncognitivism
  • Zoroastrianism
  • Posthumanism
  • legalism
  • Behaviorism
  • Fideism
  • Freudianism
  • Hungarian philosophy
  • Yugoslav philosophy
  • American Philosophical Association
  • Indian philosophy
  • Integral theory
Steve 03:26, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Regional philosophies might be considered basic by those from those regions, and since we are supposed to be supporting a world view, rather than a Western-centric one, perhaps the regions should be retained? Since they were red links, they're somewhat of a moot issue, so I've commented them out to save them for future consideration.

By the way, I'm glad to see others getting involved with this page. It's been so lonely here. I think we'll get along fine. Feel free to jump right in to the page, and also feel free to undo any of my changes you don't agree with.

As for the overall structure and clutteredness of the page, you have me to blame. Previous usernames which I had before I finally settled on this one were, Go for it!, and Nexus Seven. Just slap me if I start talking to myself. Smiley.svg

Concerning Rand, I'm neither a follower nor a fan. She seems to be influential in that she influences the general public and politicians (Greenspan). She neither influences the same crowd nor in the same way as the other philosophers on the list. This makes her an oddity and hard (for me) to gauge. I think if we are going to err, it is better to err on the side of inclusionism.

The changes proposed by KD and Steve above are fine by me, as well as the proposed additions made by Ben/Lucidish further up the page ("does God exist?", etc.).

As for any other changes you wish to make to the article, please don't feel you have to clear them on the talk page first (at least not on my account). I'm eager to see what you will transform this page into.

Sincerely,   The Transhumanist 10:04, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

It's not a question of my receptiveness to her ideas. (Though I don't hesitate to mention that I agree, I am not presently receptive to her ideas -- though there was a time when I had been.) It's just that mainstream scholars don't take her seriously. Some do, which warrants her inclusion on an inclusionistic sort of list. But the task of this page is more economical.
Many on the list you mention aren't basic to philosophy, although they may be philosophical. I think we should follow the frontline texts, introductory compendiums, companions, etc. as a guide for what deserves inclusion and what can bear being left out. For example, the Blackwell Companion to (Western) Philosophy lists the following general subject areas:

And the following topics are covered for the history of philosophy:

There's no trace of things like "panpsychicism" or "Fideism". Those are, perhaps, more advanced topics.

{ Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 03:03, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

I like what you've done to the list. I didn't have a clue how to pare down that "ism" section. I've linkified your list above just to see what pops up. --The Transhumanist 12:02, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Of course I may have been too brash with some of the trimming. I.e.: I removed "epiphenomenalism" just because it wasn't in the index of the Blackwell companion, but that doesn't mean that it is insignificant in philosophical discussion. Maybe it, and some others, can be re-added later, if they're sourced enough for emphasis. { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 23:34, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

What are these things called?[edit]

Is there a name for the following category of things?

  • A philosophy
  • Philosophical movement
  • Philosophical theory
  • Philosophical school
  • Philosophical methodology
  • Philosophical doctrine
  • Philosophical principle
  • Philosophical tradition


What are they?

  The Transhumanist 10:04, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

For the time being, I've resorted to calling them "philosophy components". --TT 17:13, 26 January 2007 (UTC)


If there's a better way to organize/arrange the topics in the basic concepts section than alphabetically, I'm all for it.   The Transhumanist 10:04, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Philosophy questions[edit]

I don't think there's any quick way to figure out what "basic" philosophy questions are, but the list up presently seems like a good start. There isn't any systematic way of taxonomizing the questions, so far as I understand. There may be resources dedicated to this somewhere, but in the meantime we might settle for whatever is presented in mainstream sources and articles (esp. tertiary sources, like encyclopedia entries). { Ben S. Nelson } Lucidish 15:13, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

slightly new lead[edit]

I added to the lede paragraph, as a very new contributor to wikipedia and to the Philosophy Project, I know that some of my edits may lack proper style, and some need links, or checking, by more experienced editors. Thankyou, and I will be trying to update my skills personally, and seek guidance from the helpdesk and Philosophy contributors who may prove kind enough to offer assistance to me. Any advice or comments, please I would appreciate on the Talkpage, or to me (private on Talk:) -User:Newbyguesses/Talk. &mdash Newbyguesses 00:39, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

The following link was removed from the article —Philosophy play-readings at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Socrates, Hume, Bentham) — There could be some interest in this link; though it doesn't fit this List of... article. -Newbyguesses 15:40, 3 June 2007 (UTC)


Anyone who has read Camus knows that he is not an Existentialist. He denied this many times. If he must be categorized, it would be under a separate heading "Absurdism". The chart at this subject ( may be helpful. Also Pessimism is but a component and precurser to the more over-arching Nihilism. ~~Nemo Senki~~

It's rather typical of philosophers to frown upon being categorized. It's true that he didn't like the label, but I don't think it's unreasonable to call Camus an Existentialist (there is some minor divergence, but no categorization is perfect). That said, if you feel strongly about it I'd say just remove him from the list. I think you're right that Absurdism would be a somewhat better label, but as this is a basic topics page I don't think we should add a new Absurdism category. — xDanielx T/C\R 03:32, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Replace aesthetics with axiology?[edit]

Aesthetics is usually not considered to be a major branch. The article itself says that it is considered a subdiscipline of axiology, which encompasses ethics and aesthetics. I suppose since both are listed it's not necessary, however. The article on axiology is pitiful. ImpIn | (t - c) 11:20, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd prefer keeping aesthetics listed in the Subdivisions of philosophy >> Branches of philosophy section, essentially for the reasons you noted. It would be sort of improper to replace aesthetics with axiology while keeping ethics, but ethics obviously shouldn't be replaced. (If we replaced upwards indefinitely, we could arguably narrow the list down to axiology and epistemology (or metaphy, which wouldn't be very useful!) And, while axiology is certainly broader than aesthetics, aesthetics is the more well known concept (and perhaps simpler to grasp for someone totally unfamiliar).
That said, I think the aesthetics section under Basic philosophical concepts >> Western philosophical concepts can probably go. It's also a bit hard to categorize as Eastern or Western -- the West has had more academic and literary engagement with aesthetics, but it's essentially a universal concept.
That said, the lack of content under Basic philosophical concepts >> Western philosophical concepts looks rather bad... but I don't think it would be difficult to populate. (I don't think we should give aesthetics as much depth as, e.g., ethics, but a few links wouldn't hurt.) List of topics in aesthetics might be helpful -- it's a big mess of loosely associated topics but perhaps a good starting place. — xDanielx T/C\R 19:04, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Rename proposal for this page and all the pages of the set this page belongs to[edit]

See the proposal at the Village pump

The Transhumanist 09:23, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

The opening sentence -

"Philosophy is an ongoing discussion about knowledge; it is a broad field of inquiry in which the definition of knowledge itself is one of the subjects investigated."

- is a good description of epistemology, but not such a great description of philosophy. I admit though that this is a hard one to nail down: what counts as "philosophy" is itself a philosophical issue. (talk) 00:47, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Guidelines for outlines[edit]

Guidelines for the development of outlines are being drafted at Wikipedia:Outlines.

Your input and feedback is welcomed and encouraged.

The Transhumanist 00:31, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

The "History of" section needs links![edit]

Please add some relevant links to the history section.

Links can be found in the "History of" article for this subject, in the "History of" category for this subject, or in the corresponding navigation templates. Or you could search for topics on Google - most topics turn blue when added to Wikipedia as internal links.

The Transhumanist 00:31, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Result of RfC[edit]

There was an RfC to delete this and all other outlines. The result was keep (discussion is archived here). RockMagnetist (talk) 15:48, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Quick explanation of Wikipedia outlines[edit]

"Outline" is short for "hierarchical outline". There are two types of outlines: sentence outlines (like those you made in school to plan a paper), and topic outlines (like the topical synopses that professors hand out at the beginning of a college course). Outlines on Wikipedia are primarily topic outlines that serve 2 main purposes: they provide taxonomical classification of subjects showing what topics belong to a subject and how they are related to each other (via their placement in the tree structure), and as subject-based tables of contents linked to topics in the encyclopedia. The hierarchy is maintained through the use of heading levels and indented bullets. See Wikipedia:Outlines for a more in-depth explanation. The Transhumanist 00:08, 9 August 2015 (UTC)