Talk:Philosopher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Occupations (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the Occupations WikiProject, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's coverage of occupations. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
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)
I think that one reason both pure mathematics and pure philosophy are interesting in their own right is that these are logically and practically prior to their worldly applications. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 09:55, 4 April 2016 (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)

Motivation[edit]

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)

Pictures[edit]

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 211.228.240.79 (talk) 01:53, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

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

What this article is not[edit]

This article should answer the clear question "what is a philosopher?", both in modern and historical uses of the word. I would like therefore to propose a few examples of what this article is *not*:

  • Not a "who's-who" list of philosophers. Certainly we will name a number of key philosophers that exemplify their field, but a rote list of philosophers does nothing to explain what one is. Avoid this trend. We have lists and articles elsewhere which do this function, based on all manner of biological information or field of study.
  • Not a history of philosophy. While we'll certainly mention the major phases, but it should only be to explain the conception of a philosopher at that point in time. Think "what was a philosopher in Ancient Greece?", "what was a philosopher in the Medieval era?", etc.
  • Not a dictionary of philosophy. Like above, explanation of particular schools of philosophy should only be used to clarify what a philosopher was, not what their philosophy was teaching at the time.

Just my thoughts. The Betrand Russell and Pierre Hadot references will be really useful for this, btw. --Netoholic @ 11:22, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Philosopher definition[edit]

The article states that, "A philosopher, in a wide sense, is someone who studies philosophy." I do not believe that the definition is acceptable. On the basis of that definition, someone could claim, for example, that they are a philosopher simply because they have read books by philosophers. I note that equivalent definitions (eg, "A scientist, in a wide sense, is someone who studies science", or "an artist, in a wide sense, is someone who studies art") would never be considered acceptable. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:24, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

The study of philosophy is sufficient for one to be called a "philosopher" - https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/philosopher . Almost every dictionary (Webster, Cambridge, MacMillan) describes this "wide sense" notion which includes students and those more devoted. Over the course of the article, we will clarify the meaning of the word in various contexts, but the first line must be broadly inclusive. -- Netoholic @ 07:48, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
You are incorrect. Wiktionary in fact states that, a philosopher is a "person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy". How did you miss the second part of the definition? Macmillan states that a philosopher is, "someone who studies and tries to explain the meaning of things such as life, knowledge, or beliefs" - which is not the same thing as "the study of philosophy" in an academic sense, involving studying the writings of philosophers. The same point applies to the Cambridge definition. Why, in any case, would you turn to dictionaries for definitions of "philosopher" when Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, rather than a dictionary? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 08:15, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
If we were to gather more dictionary definitions, some of course will be narrow ("devoted") and some will be broad ("study of"). I think that's why our article should start out broadly (clearly stating that this is a "wide sense" of the word), and then narrow it down over the course of the article to meanings in various historical and academic contexts. I also am not "turning to dictionaries", but I think its helpful when constructing the intro line as the purpose is to state a simple definition and let the detail come later. Even our article on Philosophy itself says in its first line that it "is the study of general and fundamental problems..." (not the contribution toward, etc.). One who engages in philosophy ergo is one who engages in the *study*, not necessarily the production or contribution. I am also using the Russell reference to describe the area of knowledge covered by philosophers, which you keep removing with your wholesale reverts. --Netoholic @ 08:41, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
"Study of philosophy" can mean simply studying what philosophers have written, which may involve making no original contributions. That is not the same thing as "study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language" - which implies originality. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:04, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
If you're saying you think a philosopher must be someone who makes "original contributions", I can find no definition or source that supports that. The sources I provided say a philosopher is broadly someone who studies philosophy. And since you've brought no supporting sources with you, I am going to revert to the broad meaning. I suggest you stop working off your own assumptions or interpretations of implications, and simply gather sources as I have and consolidate them in a meaningful way. -- Netoholic @ 08:41, 2 April 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The lede should be a concise summary of the main points of the article. Even if there were a properly cited subsidiary discussion of alternative or archaic uses of "philosopher" as student, that is not the major thrust of the article and should not be in the lede. At any rate, Russell -- who arguably would be RS on the subject, at least for his era, does not address "philosopher" but rather "philosophy" which is a separate WP article. The extension of Russell's text to infer statements about "philosopher" is WP:OR The "studies" bit thus fails verification wrt Russell. Furthermore, in the broad sense -- :) -- "studies" relates to the subjective experience of the practitioner, whereas "makes contributions" is a test which may be applied to published works and can be verified by RS, for example through secondary discussion or citations of such contributions. FreeKnowledgeCreator's version should be restored. SPECIFICO talk 12:28, 3 April 2016 (UTC) ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Netoholic, with respect, you do not seem to have grasped that there are two quite different senses in which one could be said to study "philosophy." To study "philosophy" may mean studying philosophers and what they have written, but it may also mean studying the subject matter discussed by philosophers, including epistemology and other topics. One can in principle do the latter without also doing the former. The problem with saying that someone is a philosopher if they "study philosophy" is that it opens the door to calling people philosophers if they simply happen to have studied the lives of philosophers, read their books, etc, which certainly isn't a good enough reason to call anyone a "philosopher." So "A philosopher, in a wide sense, is someone who studies philosophy" is totally unacceptable. The alternative definition you added, "A philosopher is, in the broadest meaning, someone who studies philosophy by applying human reason towards understanding the areas of knowledge which are outside of either theological dogma or pure science" seems over-complicated and contrived to me. The "studies philosophy by" part is actually totally unnecessary. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 03:10, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Also, one problem with the Russell definition is that he put theology and science ahead of philosophy, leaving philosophy to what's left over. This 'positivist' approach seems backwards both historically, and logically. Plato's alleged "Let no one ignorant of geometry enter" meant the logical methods of proof of geometry. Logic is followed by the applied logic of pure philosophy, philosophy is followed by its application to theology and science. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 04:15, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

He doesn't put philosophy "ahead" of theology and science. He clarifies that theological dogma, being the realm of knowledge via *authority*, is not rationally explorable. He separates science as being "definite knowledge" (ie objective, quantifiable). Philosophy in the past included many of the things we now consider pure science. That means that, for example, someone in the past that explored the nature of matter would have been called a philosopher, whereas today that same person would be a scientist. Theology yields to philosophy which yields to science. Its a wonderful definition of the area of knowledge that philosophers have explored. Russell's work is perhaps one of the most trusted sources of information on both philosophers and the context of their work over time. --Netoholic @ 06:14, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
@Netoholic, you have misread my comment. While I am a huge fan of Russell's 'History' and agree with many (but not all) of his biases, I will tell you as clearly as I can: Russell's 'History' is not an NPOV source for any encyclopedia. Its critique of Aristotle is both obviously correct and is also highly controversial in the professional community. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 10:32, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Since this article is about the humans (being philosoph-er) and not about the particular philosophical work itself, Russell stands out as a premiere source because of the degree of historical and social context he gives to the philosophers that are discussed in it. It certainly isn't and won't be the only source we use, but controversy is no reason to omit it. Its stood up to 70 years of tests and where there are controversial portions, we can find non-controversial alternatives. -- Netoholic @ 10:56, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Russell's History is the most popular and most readable critique of Aristotelian (thus also of Analytic) philosophy by possibly the most prominent philosopher of the 20th Century. It is a must read for everyone interested in philosophy. It should certainly not be omitted. But it is not a standard source by any means. It is a counter-culture masterpiece. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 11:20, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Revert to previous version[edit]

I do not think any of the recent edits have produced a satisfactory definition of "philosopher". It would be best to revert to SPECIFICO's version of the lead, unless someone can find a reliable source with another reasonable definition, in which case we can use that instead (I am not sure Russell actually gives a definition of "philosopher"). FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 07:54, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

What you think is satisfactory is irrelevant. I've provided a description of the scope of a philosopher's area of focus from the first couple paragraphs of the Introduction from one of the most authoritative works on the history of philosophy. This question of "what is a philosopher" has raged for almost 3000 years, its not our job to solve it. Its only ours to document what authorities have said about it. This may fly in the face of elitist modern academic philosophers, but we need a timeless definition for an article that will cover the subject. In short - you should not restore any prior version of the definition, because those had no reference to a reliable source. If you want to use a "better" definition of a philosopher's scope of work for the first sentence, find a more authoritative source and propose a change. Keep in mind though, we need an initial definition that will encompass any philosopher from Ancient Greece to today. -- Netoholic @ 10:27, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Actually, it's not irrelevant, because I'm an editor with the same right to edit this article as any other editor. Why so rude? Would you like it if I said that your views were irrelevant? FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 10:37, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
And what if I called your sourced work unsatisfactory, while not bringing any relevant contradictory sources to bear on the problem? -- Netoholic @ 10:56, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. I tried to explain to you earlier that dictionary definitions aren't relevant, given that Wikipedia isn't a dictionary. I looked at Russell's history of western philosophy; despite being used as a source in the article, it appears not to define the specific term "philosopher." I suggest looking for a better source. Somewhere, one should be able to find a reference work specifically about philosophy with an acceptable definition of "philosopher." FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:40, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
There are often as many definitions as there are reference works. "Philosopher" (like "philosophy" itself) has a meaning which changes based on the century and the context. That's why Russell's framework, being in the introduction to a book encompassing over two millennia of history of philosophers, is so relevant to us. -- Netoholic @ 22:03, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
I have looked at both The Oxford Companion to Philosophy and The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, and neither defines "philosopher" so far as I can tell. So I doubt that definitions are over-abundant. If there are multiple definitions, then it would be sensible to simply adopt one that looks uncontroversial and makes sense. I don't think Russell's book is a good source at all - as I said, it does not seem to contain a specific definition of "philosopher." Respectfully, I do not think your latest definition of "philosopher" is acceptable ("A philosopher is someone who uses rational inquiry to study areas of knowledge that are outside of either theological dogma or science"). Philosophers can study science among other things, for example. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:14, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
Didn't you just say "dictionary definitions aren't relevant", so why are you looking for in dictionaries for definitions? :) The simple answer to this complex question is that most people can easily grok what a philosopher is ("duh, a philosopher is someone that *studies* philosophy"). The main problem we have is that people don't like the various verbs we're using in place of "study" and want it to be something different that fits their preference. What Russell give us, at least, is a way replace "philosophy" so that we aren't defining a term with itself. He describes the scope of work quite in a timeless way, being those ares outside of theology and science. -- Netoholic @ 22:25, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy is not a dictionary. It is an encyclopedia, which just happens to call itself a dictionary. "A philosopher is someone who studies philosophy" is a foolish definition, just as "an artist is someone who studies art" would be foolish. Please give up your fixation on Russell and find a better source, as already requested. I'm getting tired of explaining what is wrong with the definitions of "philosopher" you come up with and have you simply ignore me. It does not make sense to say that philosophy involves study of "areas of knowledge that are outside of either theological dogma or science"; philosophers interested in philosophy of science obviously discuss science. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 22:51, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
Your "artist" comment is a false analogy. One studies an abstract area of knowledge, the other creates a tangible object. A closer analogy is "an aesthetician studies art". "philosophy of science" is an abstract area which is not itself pure science (which Russell defines as the realm of definite knowledge; ie objective observation). Also, I appreciate your direction at me to find a better source when I am the only one to bring *any* source to use for this purpose. I will continue to look, but I won't abandon the best one we have so far in the meantime, and I don't think you should either. Unless you find something better, let well enough alone for now.-- Netoholic @ 22:56, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
It is a perfectly apt analogy, the point of which you have not grasped. Being a philosophy means practicing philosophy, which involves creating new ideas and knowledge - just as an artist creates art. To study philosophy is no more to engage in philosophy than to study art means to create art. As for philosophy of science, of course it involves discussing, and even sometimes criticizing, science, so your definition is unacceptable: philosophy cannot be study of areas that outside science if it involves evaluating science. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 23:02, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
If that's all true, then you should have no problem finding a better reliable source than Russell. Unfortunately, we can't cite *you* as a source. -- Netoholic @ 23:07, 6 April 2016 (UTC)
Snowded has changed the definition back to, " someone who practices philosophy, which involves rational inquiry into areas that are outside of either theological dogma or science." It ought not to be impossible to find a citation to support that definition. Please leave it as it is . FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 04:03, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
"It ought not to be impossible to find a citation to support that definition." That's not how we work on Wikipedia. We don't dig out sources to fit the exact text we "prefer", we match our text to valid sources - of which I have provided one that does NOT use the word "practices". -- Netoholic @ 04:28, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
WP:EDITWAR is policy. Reverting other users over and over again to try to get the result you want is equally "not how we work on Wikipedia", especially when you are the only editor who prefers the version of the article you are reverting to. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 05:22, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't "prefer" the version I'm reverting to. I'm reverting to the version that most closely matches a reliable source. -- Netoholic @ 05:42, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Ayn Rand[edit]

RE: Discussion above concerning use of this Philospher article to justify content elsewhere on WP, e.g. Ayn Rand, Stefan Molyneux, Timothy Leary et al. Those interested please see this current discussion: [1] SPECIFICO talk 21:32, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

Lede sentence does not conform to the source ("practices")[edit]

The text of the first line uses the word "practices", which does not exist within (or match the intent) of the given source (History of Western Philosophy text, Introduction, pp. 10-11, by Bertrand Russell). The definition of philosopher is gathered from two sections of the source. The first part is the method of a philosopher:

  • pg 11 - "The studying of these questions, if not the answering of them, is the business of philosophy."

Nowhere in this Introduction section does the author use the word "practices" or any suggestion to that intent. He likewise does not use "engages", "is skilled", or "intellectual who has made contributions " (all wordings that have been suggested by others). None of these wordings or intents can be found in this source, and opponents to the "studies" wording have not provided, as yet, *any* other reliable sources which can be used here.

The second part of the definition is intended to describe the scope in which a philosopher studies. While we have used formats like "philosophers study philosophy", that is too close to attempting to define the term with itself, and is quite unencyclopedic (and ugly). Russell gives an excellent description of the scope of philosophy as follows:

  • pg.10 - "The conceptions of life and the world which we call "philosophical" are a product of two factors: one, inherited religious and ethical conceptions; the other, the sort of investigation which may be called "scientific," using this word in its broadest sense. Individual philosophers have differed widely in regard to the proportions in which these two factors entered into their systems, but it is the presence of both, in some degree, that characterizes philosophy. that characterizes philosophy. "Philosophy" is a word which has been used in many ways, some wider, some narrower. I propose to use it in a very wide sense, which I will now try to explain. All definite knowledge so I should contend belongs to science ; all dogma as to what surpasses definite knowledge belongs to theology. But between theology and science there is a No Man's Land, exposed to attack from both sides; this No Man's Land is philosophy."

Together, Russell's description of the method and scope provides a satisfactory, timeless, and intuitive definition to use in the lede sentence. My suggested consolidation is "A philosopher is someone who uses rational inquiry to study areas of knowledge that are outside of either theological dogma or pure science." based on the given source. Any alternatives must be based on this source, or a new (better) source must be provided by the detractors which can give us an alternative starting point. The people reverting are not working based on any reliable source, but more by their preferences, feelings, or perhaps bias on the topic. -- Netoholic @ 06:32, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

The lede summarises the article and each individual word does not need to be found in the source. Your proposed wording is an interpretation of the role and not neutral in nature. Sorry I don't see the point of the changes you propose. ----Snowded TALK 17:36, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
"The lede summarises the article" Okay then. The word "practices" (nor close to it) does not exist within this article outside of the lede sentence. So by this argument, that word shouldn't be used to summarise the article. -- Netoholic @ 07:06, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
This is some new definition of 'summarise' I am not familiar with. Look I'm sure everyone is open to changes, but I really don't buy your imposition of a particular interpretation of the role of Philosopher. Practices covers many ways of thinking about the role, open to other general words if you really have a problem with it ----Snowded TALK 07:54, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
If you feel I am "imposing", then please bring alternative sources. "Study" is a broader description, and that's probably why Russell used it. It is a simple word that applies throughout time. "Practices" is more narrow, and not supported by either the source or the rest of the article. Its also ambiguous, as in "practicing the piano", and implies a novice's approach. Why do you object to the word "study"? -- Netoholic @ 08:03, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

"Practice" is perfect. As in practice law, medicine, etc. And, bonus, its derived from the Ancient Greek! SPECIFICO talk 08:36, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

and practice also covers teachers of philosophy, which is important. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 08:51, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
Practice includes study, but not the other way round and please stop assuming that every word in the lede has to be sourced. It looks like there is a clear majority here for the existing text so I will remove your tag ----Snowded TALK 08:56, 9 April 2016 (UTC)

Comparable Precedents for the Lede[edit]

For starters, here are some other article ledes referring to research professions:

"A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems. Mathematics is concerned with numbers, data, quantity, structure, space, models and change."

"A scientist is a person engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist may refer to an individual who uses the scientific method.[1] The person may be an expert in one or more areas of science.[2] This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word. Scientists perform research toward a more comprehensive understanding of nature, including physical, mathematical and social realms."

Both of these are for similar articles, and while both are somewhat unbearable, to the point of either tautology in the first case or false broadness in the second, they give precedent for a broad definition of philosopher. However contrasting philosophy with dogmatism and science in the lede sentence seems like a terrible way of doing that and even then only gives a negative definition. It also includes things like history and other non-religious non-science subjects. Another issue with the current lede is that there is definite room for skepticism about rational inquiry as a reasonable descriptor of all work that is attributed to philosophy (for instance, there is room for forms of skepticism that deny the possibility of reason to begin with) and dogmatism about some fundamentals while elaborating on others (are Scholastics who presupposed god but went on to solve philosophical questions related to god not philosophers?).

The issue with using Russell's definition as well is that his History is hardly well regarded among philosophers. The article on it lays out many criticisms, and speaking from having read parts of it myself, I am not sure I would hold it in high regard as authoritative on the topics in covers even for its time.

Here is a possible definition that could be used:

"A philosopher is someone who studies questions relating to fundamental questions concerning matters such as existence, values, reason, mind, and language." (stealing from the lede paragraph of the philosophy article)--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 19:00, 9 April 2016 (UTC)


As I discussed Russell above, I agree that his History is not well regarded, which is due in a large part to his devastating (and demonstrably correct) critique of Aristotelian philosophy and of the stubborn 20th century academic dogmatism that maintains it. So it is very much a minority opinion, but it is coming from one of the leading philosophers of the past 100 years, which makes it a Wikipedia reliable source.
The problem with "studies" followed by a list of particular topics is 1) pointed out by Plato repeatedly. It is a list, not a definition, and then by Einstein's take on Ockham's razor, that "things should be as simple as possible but no simpler".
"Studies" is too weak. It is insufficient to cover important philosophical activities, yet it includes a man on a stool at the Dew Drop Inn reading Yogi's wisdom. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 20:18, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
Granted, however at the very least it is an improvement over the current lede. Until something better can be produced I still would take mine over the blatantly misleading current lede. However in the meantime, another suggestion: "A philosopher is someone who contributes to the discussion of fundamental questions that ground knowledge and action." I think it captures philosophy well, it deals with basic questions about root issues in knowledge/logic and action in general. I can see if I find a source to corroborate it if there are no objections.
Your assessment of the reason for Russell's History being out of favour is incorrect. Though you are right it may squeak by the reliable source criteria, I think as reliable sources go it is subpar and we should keep that in mind. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 22:57, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
I would not draw from the current philosophy article and, in fact, I think it should change to match Russell's description. We all know about the Wikipedia meme about how all articles end up at 'philosophy', and there is a good reason for that. Philosophy is arguably the most grand of all human concepts. It is so vast, in fact, that we constantly find it hard to describe the scope of it without resorting to long lists of what it supposedly includes ("existence, values, reason, mind, and language"). These lists will 'always' be unsatisfactory because they paradoxically grow long and out of control while seemingly always missing something. It is far better, as Russell and others have, to define philosophy by what it is *not*, especially in a context like a lede sentence. Your list is already present in the lede further down as part of the modern definition. We should always start out broad and narrow down over the course of the article, and that's what Russell's definition does for us. No matter what other criticisms there are about his history, I have not found a criticism of his definition of 'philosophy'. The other professions you mentioned aren't comparable. -- Netoholic @ 23:14, 9 April 2016 (UTC)
I still like 'practice'.
A mathematician knows how to prove mathematical propositions. A doctor is a practitioner. Same for a philosopher. Logical methodology is everything in philosophy, everything else is just ordinary BS. ~~ BlueMist (talk) 02:54, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
Tell me, is history a pure science or theological dogma? It clearly is separate from philosophy so by the logic of Russell's definition it must be one or the other. The same for mathematics, Russell thought math was reducible to logic making it philosophy however this is quite obviously false and was shown to be so during Russell's own lifetime. Must we then amend the definition of philosophy to say math is not philosophy? The same problem that you raise with lists, that they keep growing, applies just as well to negative definitions as positive ones. The difference being that negative ones tell us nothing about what it actually is. Furthermore giving a non-exhaustive negative definition is far more misleading than a non-exhaustive positive one because it forces us to include things that aren't philosophy while things seemingly unrelated to the basic concepts brought up in a positive list can usually be reduced to those basic subject matters. As well, there is definite room for comparison between other professions and philosophy, the subject matter may be different but the fact that it is related to their job and their job is part of the pursuit of knowledge makes it far more similar than it is different. You've given no good reason for throwing away the comparison.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:44, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Another precedent setter:

"An actuary is a business professional who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty."

That's from one of the two FA quality Wikipedia articles on WikiProject Occupations, and it really sets the standard to which we should aspire. Once again it provides a positive definition. "It's hard" is not a good reason to not give a positive definition of philosopher.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:57, 10 April 2016 (UTC) My second attempt at definition got lost in the text back there so I'll bring it to the front again for deliberation: "A philosopher is someone who contributes to the discussion of fundamental questions that ground knowledge and action."--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 05:02, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Try this: Instead of trying to make up a definition on your own, find sources which reflect the views of experts and bring them to the discussion. As far as I'm concerned, until you do that, this is not going to go anywhere. The lede sentence is just a starting point - its not meant to be the final word. And besides, this article is not meant to describe the entirety of 'philosophy' but the role of the 'philosopher' in the world. Start with that as your focus. We still have a lot of work to be done on the actual main body. -- Netoholic @ 09:01, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
I can do both, and in the meantime the Russell definition needs to be changed, I've given more than enough reason why that is so, I've questioned the source, the type of definition, the actual content of the definition, there is hardly anything that could be said to be correct about the definition! It needs to be changed now.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 15:33, 10 April 2016 (UTC)



Hi, an interesting philosophical discusson in itself. Philosophy of philosophy, so to speak.
No one is an authority on "Philosopher <whois>", and so WP:RS will be a problem. For the record, I like Ollyoxen's proposal, and I think Hadot (sp?) is a proponent of a particular view and as such unwarranted here, as it skews the article. At hte very least, attribute Hadot to Hadot, let him not be The Voice of Wikipedia.
Since a philosopher is someone concerned with philosophy, to determine who is a philosopher requires determining what philosophy is, and that is notoriously difficult.
But based on that idea, I've uselessly jotted down the draft of a sketch to a plan to a prolegomenon to what I should have begun to write in my sandbox, had I had one. It's sorely lacking in sources, but see above. Nevertheless I hope that it may at lest contribute some general idea of where this article should be heading. I'm sorry it got so long; I shall have to use Pascal's excuse: I'd have written less if I'd had more time.
Note that I with heavy hand have included Rand in this draft. This is not to suggest article inclusion, but to indicate what kind of people are meant to be covered by which hopefully sufficiently weasely worded sections; the name itself may very well be removed. In that spirit, of course every single word is up for revision/deletion and in the latter case sorry, folks.
Methodologywise: Two popular modes of presentation are the chronological and the analytical or thematic structure; diachrone or synchrone, if you will. One solution would be a two-pronged approach. However, in this first attempt, my thematic presentation failed, as you will see. A thematic approach would have to look at criteria for inclusion, like "profession" (Wearers-of-bedsheets; monks; Big Wig men; German Professors; unshaven Frenchmen ... it just don't work ...); a list of who-was-called-one invariably decays to a history of philosophy. I think, in the end, that the scope would just end up too wide. But I have hopes for the Chrono one.

Chronological: Since a philosopher is someone who is somehow concerned with philosophy, to determine who is a philosopher will necessarily have to involve determining what, on any given occasion, philosophy is. The definition of philosophy, and hence philosopher, was first given 2500 years ago, and has been revised several times since. In ancient Greece, it was used broadly for any thinker proposing descriptive or normative models applicable to areas of human endeavour, such as concerning knowledge - e.g. physics or biology - or action, e.g. ethics or political science. In such a context, it is unproblematic to call e.g. Plato or Aristotle philosophers. The inheritors of their traditions continued their work, resulting in various philosophical "schools", like Platonists (Academicians) or Aristotelians (Peripathetics).

Thinkers who were proponents of normative ethics often started schools that embraced these normative ethics, like the Cynics, Stoics, Epicureans, etc., with members living according to that philosophy. In this case, a philosophy functions as a type of (more or less) closed world-view. However, it has been customary to consider merely the head source a philosopher, and the followers as acolytes or disciples, unless they also distinguish themselves with elaborating or developing the original teachings, even though adherents might be notable in themselves (like emperor Nero, a one-time student of the Stoa).

Thanks to the practice of writing, these traditions produced a considerable volume of litterature, leading to an early onset of attempts to catalogue, compare, systematize and present philosophy, i.e. philosophical scholarship and the associated study of the texts of predecessors, in parallell with the ongoing production of new works of philosophy by contemporary thinkers. Such scholars, particularly those engaged in systematization, are also rightly to be counted among those engaged with philosophy.

With the rise of universities, philosophy began to be to some degree professionalized, requiring acquaintance with classic works and/or mastery of philosophical tools, primarily logic, as encapsulated in the widely taught "Organon" of Aristotle, in order to gain a title, such as e.g. doctor of philosophy, as a trade. Under this system, scholarship, study and knowledge of the history of philosophy became prerequisites as a starting point for being regarded as a philosopher proper, and the activity of philosophy was seen as circumscribed by the subject matter of the textual canon. Nonetheless, contemporary thinkers from outside Universities also continued to produce works whose ideas garnered attention among philosophers, were commented on, written about and so incorporated into the accumulating corpus of philosophical texts, thereby including their authors into the ranks of philosophers, at least for future students of the history of philosophy, i.e. posterity.

It is worthwhile to note that science was originally indistinct from philosophy, the term being merely the latin translation of the greek one. The study of nature, natural philosophy or natural science was part of philosophy; hence the Alchemists' term "Philosopher's Stone", denoting not a unusually clever rock, but a particular substance sought by a philosopher who had made a special study of natural philosophy. Beginning in the late medieval period, and boosted by the Renaissance, the early modern period saw a sharp rise in interest in natural science. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the structure of any natural science. Above all, the methods of problem solving had been identified and codified, leading to a breakaway of what we now call "science" from the domain of philosophy. This has left one definiton of philosophy as the domain of knowledge where methods that ensure true answers have not yet been identified. From the perspective of philosophy, though, modern science could well be classified as a subdiscipline of natural philosophy based on the epistemological assumption of Empiricism, characterized by a common set of methodologies applying certain specific and certain general principles of deduction. In that sense, scientists are also engaged in performing applied philosophy, as opposed to theoretical philosophy; in analogy to e.g. pure or theoretical pysics and applied physics, i.e. engineering.

With the deepening secularization of the West, theology, too, has been separated from philosophy and is now taught as a separate academic discipline, although theologians may count among their own several figures from the history of philosophy, e.g. Augustine, Aquinas, Hegel or Kierkegaard, and are free to use philosophical methodology, as philosophers are free to discuss theological issues in e.g. metaphysics or ethics.

Today, philosophy has been professionalized to the degree that normally only people with an advanced university degree in philosophy are considered notable as philosophers. Nevertheless there are even today many lay philosophers, of many types. There are e.g. scientists who discuss fundamental issues of their disciplines, blurring the lines between e.g. the science of biology and the philosophy of science. There are still authors of normative ethics founding creeds with followers founding schools, like Ayn Rand. There are popularizers of philosophy, like Alain de Botton, who is not a professional philosopher, but has brought philosophy to the general public like few philosophers have managed. There are intellectuals, journalists, researchers and others who from time to time produce ideas of note, and there are many more such who refer to philosophical topics or works in their publications, formal or informal, like blogs and youtube channels. Philosophical "Greatest Hits" like Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" are still in circulation, and may well impel the incautious reader to entertain philosophical musings of his or her own. And, most widely construed, any one who has ever pondered why the sky is blue and the grass is green is displaying that fundamental prerequisite for philosophy named by Plato, namely wonderment.

In short, who is a philosopher depends on your present use of the term "philosophy", and the need you have to apply it as a honorific or a libel.

Thematic:
The beginnings of philosophy are to be found in the cosmological theories of the pre-Socratics; the first philosophers were thus early scientists. From theories about the constitution of the universe from e.g. water or fire, the discussion deepened to topics such as "substance", that which underlies phenomena, "change", "duration" and finally, what it is to be, what being is in itself; issues typically classified as ontology (the study of what there is) or metaphysics.
The study of metaphysics can be described as the search for that which lies beyond, i.e. behind that which we see, in other words, all the things we cannot see. This leads naturally to the question of how we know what we cannot see, leading to the discipline of epistemology, the study of knowledge and knowledge acquisition.
Ontolgy and epistemology are not completely independent; very often a certain ontology will make better allowance for a certain type of epistemology. Empiricism is clearly bolstered by the metaphysical assumption that reality exists, for example, more so than by e.g. solipcism.
Increasing knowledge raised the question of what it could be used for, including the question of it could turn people as they were into better people, by some measure. This gave rise to questions of ethics, the right conduct in given situations, in life overall and also in communal life.
Parallel to all this, ancient philosophers continued to study, catalogue and make taxonomies of natural kinds like animals, social phenomena like constitutions of states, or human activities like arts and skills.

Medieval philosophy is characterized by its application to theology, developing, amongst other things, a high culture of hermeneutics and logic, often referred to as Scholasticism.

Early modern philosophy saw a great turn away from ontology to issues of epistemology. Based on some of the results of Scholasticism, epistemical issues were famously raised by rationalists like Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, often in counterpoint with empiricists like Hobbes, Locke and Hume. In this tradition we find philosophers like Kant and Hegel, who described a new extension to logic in his dialectics.

A theory to rival both rationalism and empiricism arose in pragmatism, championed without that heading by e.g. Nietzsche, and making up its own school with the works of Peirce, Dewey and James. One early epistemological pragmatist was Marx, more famous for his works in economic theory, which would influence social and political history as few other philosophical works have done, with a discussion continuing until today.

(Existentialism)
(Philosophy of science)
(Philosophy of mind - part of metaphysics)

A breakthrough in logic that could move it beyond Aristotle had been awaiting for 2500 years, and was finally accomplished by the mathematician Gottlob Frege. In the course of his logical studies he wrote several papers onlanguage, leading to what has beeb called the linguistic turn in philosophy: understanding language, particularly the issue of meaning and reference, as a prerequisite to epistemology.

A typical university syllabus will encompass the fields of metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science.

.... (giving up) ....


Or ... new silly idea ...
A thematic approach might be one based on different definitions of "philosphy" given, ranging from
supertight - anyone _advancing_ the field of philosophy with revolutionary new breakthroughs
narrow - Ph.D in philosophy, tenured professor, books, scholar cites, awards, prizes
Wider - High ranking professional writing works of great interest and lasting influence
Wiider - Anyone engaged in university philosophy, including students
Wiiider - Anyone writing books, papers or articles on ideas
Unleashed - Anyone in wiiider + youtubers and bloggers + diuerse cult leaders and gurus
Floodlike - anyone who has ever experienced 'θαυμάζειν'

T 88.89.219.147 (talk) 07:31, 25 April 2016 (UTC)

late entrant to the discussion. I support the current lede. The only thing I would add is the need for an explicit section or article on the various definitions, the evolution of the term and perhaps the controversy.InformationvsInjustice (talk) 21:47, 5 August 2016 (UTC)

Women/Black Philosophers Sections[edit]

If the mathematician and scientist article can have a section specifically meant for underprivileged groups that have contributed to their field, I think the philosopher article can as well. Any assumptions as to what "belongs" in an occupation article has to be made in reference to other articles of similar form. Women/black philosophers are mentioned in those sorts of articles and therefore it is fine that they be mentioned in this article too. They were mentioned for a very long time until removed by Netoholic. I tried to revert it but then it was reverted back again so let's talk about this here. Before one can make assumptions that the article has no place for "who's who" - please consider the fact that other occupation articles do the exact same thing and explain why philosophers are different. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 20:07, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are not a platform for espousing one gender over another nor one racial group over another. This article in particular is about the occupation of "philosopher". Including those sections (which were wholly copied from other articles) is lazy and misguided, and do not bring quality to the article. It is not a who's-who list, especially when the only reason for mentioning someone is their gender or race without any context to their actual contributions to this occupation. If there are notable philosophers (of any sex or gender) which brought significant development to this occupation, feel free to include them in the History section, or wherever else is appropriate. If there are sourced statistics related to the modern job force, feel free to include them. If there are particular differences in education, mention it in that section. But please don't think you're helping bring social justice just by adding these lazy sections back and making them seem more "important" by labeling the sections for one gender or racial group when you don't do the same for the others. If I tried to add a "Men in philosophy" or "White philosophers" section, you'd be right in saying it was inappropriate. The same holds true when you want to call out "Women in philosophy" or "Black philosophers". -- Netoholic @ 20:31, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
Again, ignoring the fact that there is clear precedent for other articles doing the same thing. You're free to have opinions on what should be wikipedia policy on the matter, but that gives you no say in what is accepted practice on wikipedia articles, and as it happens considering the comparable entries in other occupation articles, the consensus does not seem to be in your favour.
I think you well understand the reasons why this situation is not directly comparable to having a "white philosophers" section and you're being stubborn if you believe that analogy works. As well, there were sourced statistics like you are looking for in the sections you removed! This I think clearly indicates that your decision to remove the offending sections was not based on rational considerations but simply a knee-jerk reaction to the principle of giving special attention to underrepresented groups in a field.-- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:28, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
This article is to describe an occupation, it is not a list of people who have held that occupation. I would no more support any arbitrary list of "overrepresented" people than I would "underrepresented" ones. Naming people that have held an occupation does not describe the nature of the occupation. -- Netoholic @ 10:29, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
You keep repeating that, it feels like you didn't read my argument or you're ignoring it. I repeat there is precedent, how you feel occupations should be covered by wikipedia doesn't give you freedom to ignore that this is accepted practice to include sections on underrepresented groups. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:26, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Other articles are not this article, but the two examples you gave do not contain the same sort of laundry-list of minor occupation holders as was removed from this article. Scientist, in particular, while it has a women section, it discusses only stats and numbers of representation in the occupation (again, not a list of *people*) which I've already said is appropriate - though I disagree with making it a bolded heading because if, as you say, these groups are underrepresented, then WP:WEIGHT applies and indicates that we should not over-emphasize them. Statistics related to representation by various groups says as much about the majority as it does about the minority. -- Netoholic @ 16:07, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
WP:WEIGHT would actually be in my favour, as in metaphilosophical discussions there's a great deal of discussion about whether philosophy is doing enough to accommodate underrepresented groups within philosophy. For instance the movement to rename philosophy departments that don't have any non-Western-focused philosophers "European and American Philosophy". Weight isn't just a matter of how much of something there is but how much it is talked about. Otherwise women in general would barely be mentioned at all on wikipedia in articles covering events prior to the 19th century where women were often sidelined and it is a matter of debate now as to the role they played and the social history of events as it affected women. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 16:34, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
I'll note again that the sections you removed did have statistics, and yet you saw it fit to remove the entire section instead of just the parts you felt weren't upholding wikipedia standards.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 16:35, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Also your failure to recognize WP:PRECEDENT for how to treat this article indicates a clear bias on your part, please consider that. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 16:39, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
If you have good quality content to add, and you do it in an NPOV way that gives due weight to information, then do. If not, then please take your racism, sexism, victim mentality, and accusations somewhere else. -- Netoholic @ 16:53, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Wow, letting your true colours fly now aren't you? My accusations have all been justified. You have been ignoring my arguments and you have been ignoring wikipedia standards. Now you're using personal attacks to get your way. At this point if you aren't ready to recuse yourself from a matter you're obviously not willing to look at in an evenhanded manner, you're only acting as a detriment to the standards wikipedia attempts to uphold. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 17:21, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Plus, I'm a white man without any particular claim to victimhood, and I am very doubtful that I have any racism or sexism against my own race or gender, so please stop trying to apply insults where they don't work.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 17:28, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

As well, Netoholic claims they were copied from other articles, but I googled sentences from the offending section and cannot find the material in other articles online. As such Netoholic must provide evidence for that or stop claiming it. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 20:21, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Both of those sections are taken from Women in philosophy. From the lead section, and the "Black women" section.-- Netoholic @ 20:31, 23 May 2016 (UTC)
Looked harder this time and found them. I'm not sure however if it violates wikipedia policy to take from other sources within wikipedia. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:28, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
You accused me of false claim, and I countered that for you. I never said it violates any policy - just that this particular cut and paste job was lazy, out of place, and redundant. Assuaging one's sense of social justice is no excuse for low quality work. -- Netoholic @ 10:29, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Getting into the discussion here because of the notice on WP:Philosophy. Here are some thoughts:

  • It is universally good that all aspects of philosophy are adequately represented and nothing or nobody is being unfairly marginalized. Questions about representation and diversity are very important ones that ought not to be sidelined.
  • Does that mean identifying philosophers in the article by gender and race membership? I think there are better ways to go about it.
  • For one, blacks and women are not the only minorities in philosophy. This notion of blacks and women as designated special classes of representative minorities is a reflection of white, Western-centric views of majority/minority groups, suggesting, for instance that other groups are less important and that "blacks and women" are somehow representative.
  • This article is about the content of philosophy, not cultural or social issues within the field.
  • A better way to address the question of adequate representation on this topic would be to focus on diversity of ideas, not diversity of social demographics. As such, the article needs to have sections on non-Greek, non-contemporary Analytical or Continental canon.

This, I think is a good start on the issue, and avoids many major problems. BabyJonas (talk) 13:52, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

The major thing I'd like to point out about the above is that this article is about the occupation of philosopher (and not the topics within field of study itself), so I agree that its appropriate to discuss the role of a philosopher as it differs between major branches and disciplines, and different time periods. If social demography is not discussed at length in other summaries of the profession, then it would be unfair to include it in ours. -- Netoholic @ 18:36, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I see what you're saying. If we're taking this article to be about occupation and job description, then maybe within a subsection of western, academic philosophy, it might be worth bringing up the issue of a lack of diversity. The hope is we can do this without enshrining certain groups or populations as synonyms of minority groups. Would that be acceptable? BabyJonas (talk) 20:49, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
If other sources, when discussing the overall profession of 'philosopher' discuss demographic statistics, sure. Certain basic statistics are NPOV and appropriate since they say as much about one population as they do about its counterparts. What I really don't think is appropriate would be to overinflate certain groups over others in an attempt to use this article to somehow bring justice to the situation, especially when there is no evidence presented that the situation is a result of either systemic problems or direct malice. What we've see though (throughout wikipedia and the discussion above) seems to be not driven by accurate, summary-style description, but rather insertions of material due to outside motivations. -- Netoholic @ 02:31, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
FWIW I share the same concerns. I don't want people using Wikipedia articles for their personal pet agendas. Does diversity qualify as anything more than this? That's something I don't know how to judge yet. BabyJonas (talk) 02:50, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

I'm not talking about making a list here, that's not what the sections that were taken out are. That's going the wrong way with this conversation.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 02:21, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

I didn't mean to say anything about your plans in particular, I was just sketching out a general idea of what I thought might and might not be considered helpful so far as this article. Just so people know where I'm coming from. What exactly do you have in mind? BabyJonas (talk) 20:53, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Looking at what we had before for those sections and if necessary cutting them down a little bit but not entirely as has been done by Netoholic.--Ollyoxenfree (talk) 02:49, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
If there is a place for it, I think it would be within the context of modern academia. But we need to give it proper weight, and that can only be done given substantive detail on contemporary academic philosophers. If all we are saying about contemporary academic philosophers is half a paragraph, I don't think that level of detail justifies a discussion of diversity. BabyJonas (talk) 14:37, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
I'd point out the similar entries in the articles on scientists and mathematicians as I did before but it seems Netaholic has gone on a bit of a crusade in terms of removing those, which I'd like to point out is not a reasonable way to win an argument over precedent. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 01:45, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
I see what you mean when it comes to the parity of articles on scientists and mathematicians. One thing that complicates the issue with philosophers is that there are different philosophical traditions (analytic/continental, for instance), and even different cultural notions of philosophers (for instance, much of what we consider Chinese or Arabic or Indian philosophy will not fit into our notion of professionalized academic philosophy). In addition, while scientists and mathematicians as professions are a relatively recent phenomenon, philosophers as a category stretches back very far, transcending some of the easy categorization we can do with scientists and mathematicians. But that's not to say we can't find a way to fit in the diversity issue. I think we just need to develop the article further first. BabyJonas (talk) 15:03, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
What I fail to see is why it needs to be put off when such a section already existed and could be reinstated with a single revert of an edit by Netaholic. I'm not talking about building something new, I'm talking about reversing a drive-by edit by someone who here and more recently on my user talk page has shown themselves to neither have the relevant philosophical background or impartiality to be making that sort of edit. Consider, if you came across the article in the form it was before Netaholic's edit would you have gone so far as to remove two entire sections? That sort of problematic attitude is what I'm opposing. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 20:35, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Well, in my opinion, what makes it problematic is you would have something like two paragraphs covering professional, academic philosophy, and eight paragraphs covering diversity. The undue weight issue would come into play. I'm not wholly opposed to the idea, so long as WP:UNDUE is respected. Do you feel like undue weight isn't as important an issue as I'm making it? Just curious. BabyJonas (talk) 22:54, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Considering there's an entire article devoted to women in philosophy and it is a common issue in modern philosophy whether the discipline is sexist, I am not so sure if it is undue weight to begin with. Women weren't just in philosophy starting at the modern day, and googling "women in philosophy" brings back 47 million hits ("contemporary philosophy" btw brings back about 5 million hits, "professionalization of philosophy" brings back 280,000, the same trends appear in google scholar searches with smaller margins). Even to the extent that it is, I think that the solution isn't to remove the diversity sections, but to beef up the rest. As well, if we did reinclude the offending sections it would likely be with a few cut backs, bringing it more on par with what you'd expect for the weight it deserves in this article. Between all those separate factors and partial solutions I think it is clear that the best solution is not a quick deletion of those sections. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 13:54, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
If the other user doesn't want to budge, we at least have one area of common ground: Beefing up the rest of the article first. Once that's done, it would seem obvious that discussions of diversity are curiously absent from the article, and there will be a natural desire by many others to fix that, I think. BabyJonas (talk) 18:05, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Essentially that's saying let's wait to make a change that has good reason to be put in place (evidenced by the search results) and requires minimal effort because one user who's proven not to have the requisite background to be involved in this discussion is acting stubbornly. Do you see why that's a problematic stance? It's not realpolitik to play the long game in this case, and considering the user was happy to do the same thing to the higher quality Scientist article I doubt they intend to stop if we meet your standard of proper weight. -- Ollyoxenfree (talk) 04:01, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why don't we cross that bridge when we get to it? I mean, everybody's goal here is to produce substantive articles, and not to insert this or that pet issue into articles, right? Developing the article meets that goal, and gets you what you want down the road without any concerns of undue weight for you to hassle with. What's the problem with working on the article? BabyJonas (talk) 15:31, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

The article is about the role of the Philosopher and our job here is not to right great wrongs. We should not be inserting opinions or creating lists. Any commentary on history or on gender roles needs to be supported by third party sources ----Snowded TALK 20:16, 15 June 2016 (UTC)