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This navbox is intended for very sparing use. Only the major branches of philosophy should include it. Pontiff Greg Bard (talk) 00:20, 12 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]


Plato, Kant, Nietzsche. Is this representative, is there some rationale behind this? (talk) 18:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Yeah, I came here to suggest replacing Neitzsche with someone who's equally influential to Analytic and Continental philosophy since those are the two modern currents, but I don't know nearly enough to suggest anyone better. Tolstoyan at Heart (talk) 16:45, 19 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]

  • Same; Nietzsche does seem out of place. ‑‑YodinT 23:45, 23 January 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Justification of additions[edit]

I have added Indian, Chinese and Buddhist philosophy to the sidebar. It was clearly eurocentric, having various western philosophical movements (including scholasticism, a point anyone attempting to remove Buddhist philosophy because it is associated with a religion should note) but only the one token "eastern philosophy" link. These three definitely represent major currents of philosophical thought in Asia and indeed, is part of the philosophical tradition of mankind as a whole. (Javierfv1212 - Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Javierfv1212 (talkcontribs) 00:28, 31 December 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Request for comment about replacing Nietzsche with Hume[edit]

See the bottom of the demographic statistics of the PhilPapers surveys with the heading "Non-living philosophers most identified with". Since Hume came before Kant, the top three would be: Plato, Hume, Kant.

Even better yet, replace Plato with Aristotle. But Plato does have historical significance; arguably the Western philosophy proper starts with Plato, so I don't make the proposal here. Ailenus (talk) 14:14, 29 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]

An RFC usually comes only after preliminary discussion on a page. Ah, well, in any case, this gallery at the top of the sidebar just offers examples of diverse philosophers; we could go endlessly in circles trying to find the "best" 6. The current selection appears as reasonable as any other would. Clean Copytalk 05:42, 14 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Agree, and making this change might trigger changes (or RFCs) on a monthly basis. - DVdm (talk) 06:58, 14 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]
Immanuel Kant; Martin Heidegger; David Hume; Arthur Schopenhauer; G.W.F. Hegel; Ludwig Wittgenstein; Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel and/or August Wilhelm Schlegel; Friedrich Nietzsche; Socrates; John Stuart Mill; Plato; Aristotle; Thomas Hobbes; and René Descartes. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 21:20, 14 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]
@Clean Copy: @DVdm: I respectfully disagree that a list of six, or whatever number of in fact, representative philosophers which remains stable in the long term cannot be settled upon. I will not argue any further, however. Anyone is free to close the RfC, cease to comment, and let Nietzsche stay. I disagree with this course of action, but I resent unenlightened discussion more. Ailenus (talk) 05:32, 19 September 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Sidebar is now collapsible, you can default it to be opened to a topic or all topics as per documentation[edit]

See documentation on the main page of this template. This sidebar was too tall in certain locations, so being able to collapse it seemed like a good idea. Let me know if there are any issues with this. I'll look to expand the sidebar to the correct location where appropriate. Efbrazil (talk) 21:40, 4 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]


The inclusion of Averroes—presumably to represent the Perso-Arab tradition—is a strange inclusion. Surely Avicenna is immensely more important and influential? Aza24 (talk) 23:01, 17 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I agree: if we have to choose one philosopher of the Arabic-Persian tradition, then Avicenna is probably the best choice. Phlsph7 (talk) 09:07, 18 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed - I think Avicenna is better. By page traffic alone I think he's a clear outlier, especially given that he's mostly relevant to philosophy, unlike many of the other popular medieval philosophy pages which overlap other topics. - car chasm (talk) 16:48, 20 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe this would be a good opportunity to update the collage with higher res images. All of these depictions are in public domain, so we really have no excuse for such poor reproductions. Aza24 (talk) 17:46, 21 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There also seems to be a problem with the source of the image of Averroes. See the discussion at Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Logic/archive1. Phlsph7 (talk) 08:20, 28 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know how to do this, but to anyone who does and takes the initiative, please accept my thanks in advance!
Cheers, PJ Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 16:22, 28 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I would take care of it. I was thinking about using either File:1950_%22Avicenna%22_stamp_of_Iran.jpg or File:Qatar_stamp_islamic_figure_(1971),_Avicenna.jpg. I'm just waiting for feedback on whether the licenses of those images are fine. Phlsph7 (talk) 20:03, 28 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Done. I used File:Avicenna_(980_-_1037).jpg for Avicenna since the other two had license issues. It's now 660px width instead of the original 220px. More was not possible since the image of Plato was too small. Phlsph7 (talk) 16:38, 30 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Looks wonderful, thank you! Aza24 (talk) 04:46, 1 August 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Picture shouldn't be a gallery[edit]

It's impossible to represent philosophy accurately using a gallery of noteworthy philosophers. Who is more influential than another is subjective and it's certainly impossible to represent the concept of philosophical thought through showing a few key figures. I'm not sure if MOS:PEOPLEGALLERY would apply here, but I think it should. Isn't there a better way to represent philosophy in an image? Perhaps we could use an artwork demonstrating the act of pondering such as The Thinker or A woman thinking; or an image representing a thought experiment, such as The Trolley Problem, or some other demonstration of philosophy. Howardcorn33 (talk) 16:57, 16 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Hello Howardcorn33 and thanks for sharing your concerns. I agree that it is difficult to find images to properly represent such a wide and abstract topic. In my personal view, having a gallery of some of the most representative philosophers is an elegant solution to this problem. I don't think that MOS:PEOPLEGALLERY is a problem since it applies to "Articles about ethnic groups", which is not the case here. If we wanted to use an image presenting a specific philosophical problem from a particular area of philosophy then one difficulty would be to find an image that is both easily understandable without a caption and representative of philosophy at large.
If you are concerned that some of the philosophers in the current presentation are not representative enough then we could consider replacing them with better alternatives. Phlsph7 (talk) 07:57, 17 October 2023 (UTC)[reply]
There is no requirement for a navigation template to have an image in it at all. The guidance at WP:NAVIMAGES discourages images in them unless there is a specific justification beyond decoration. In the area of philosophy, it is typical to see images in sidebars about specific philosophers or the schools associated with them, but templates for impersonal topics such as Postmodernism or theism are often image-free. And frankly it seems a bit odd to go to an article about, say, Contemporary philosophy and immediately be presented with a gallery that contains no relevant figures. In some articles, such as African philosophy, Feminism, or Indigenous American philosophy, the image selection could even be perceived as offensive. The first two of these three don't have that problem because they are not using the navbox at all, but it defeats the purpose of a navbox if it isn't on the pages to be navigated. So overall my suggestion is to remove the image entirely. --RL0919 (talk) 17:06, 24 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, removing the images altogether is also a viable solution. It helps avoid the problem you mentioned for articles that use the sidebar but are not associated with any of the pictured philosophers. And we also avoid future discussions about whose pictures should included and the order in which to include them. Phlsph7 (talk) 17:39, 24 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Like this?: Template:Philosophy sidebar/sandbox Rjjiii (talk) 04:23, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Looks good. Phlsph7 (talk) 08:35, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, like that. --RL0919 (talk) 13:37, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The current ”grid” image is a bit awkward. My suggestion is that we use the famous image of Plato and Aristotle in The School of Athens. It is a well known image of the two most influential philosophers throughout history. I updated the sandbox; go look. Trakking (talk) 14:22, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I'm not clear on how this improves on the multiple issues mentioned in the discussion above. --RL0919 (talk) 15:07, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
As I said, Plato and Aristotle are the two most influential philosophers throughout history, so they’re more representative of Philosophy than the other people in the previous grid. And it is only ONE image and not a bunch of images. Trakking (talk) 15:39, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
At the very least, your suggested image would solve the problem of disagreements about how to order the images. It's also correct that in terms of the influence of the philosophers, this is a good choice. One issue is that it won't take long for other editors to start complaining that this image is biased because it excludes other traditions. Another issue is what was pointed out by RL0919 earlier: for certain pages that use the sidebar, this image is not relevant. Phlsph7 (talk) 16:11, 25 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Technical concern: mouse over >>"nihilism"<< and see what image you get. You should see the 6-image grid from this template. Because it must be placed at the top of the article to float to the right-hand column, its image becomes the search bar image, pop-up image, and Wikipedia app image for whatever article it is placed in. Whatever image you place in this template will take that role, Rjjiii (talk) 06:54, 26 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

The preview produces misleading results since there is no indication that the image is from the sidebar instead of a regular lead image. In some cases, the results are quite hillarious, like the article Indigenous American philosophy where none of the depicted philosophers in the preview is relevant to the topic. I went ahead and removed the image. Whoever wants to restore the image should at the very least implement a general solution that avoids this problem. A local alternative is to add the image to the article in question, for example, with the following code:

[[File:Philbar 4.png|thumb|From top left to bottom right: [[Plato]], [[Kant]], [[Nietzsche]], [[Buddha]], [[Confucius]], and [[Avicenna]]]]

Phlsph7 (talk) 08:50, 26 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

two proposals[edit]

Is there support for removing the "Schools" section entirely? The current contents are rather weird, and I'm not sure what a good list would even look like.

Also, is there any way we could put some kind of protection on this? Preferably extended-protect? It has not been subject to vandalism, but well-meaning editors keep making weird changes and additions. The justification for protection would be that edits affect many articles all at once, and so have the potential to be disruptive on a large scale.

Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 18:06, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I support removing the "Schools" section entirely as Patrick proposed and for the reasons he gave. For example, consider the first item in that section: Behaviorism is already in {{Psychology sidebar}} where it belongs. And some of the other "schools" are responses to entirely different problems.
I doubt that page protection is justified, though I understand the concern/annoyance at the unusually large number of edits this year. As Patrick said, the editors are acting in good faith. How the template gets edited provides potentially useful information about people's misconceptions, or more charitably, about people's different perspectives on the subject (acknowledging that some of those differences are misconceptions), and may lead to improvements in spite of the regressions. Biogeographist (talk) 18:43, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Biogeographist,
Thanks for the response. I'm going to go ahead and remove the Schools right now, as this seems clear-cut to me. If others speak up in disagreement, it can easily be restored.
As to protection, I admit I have not looked into policy on this. I just know that some templates are extremely restricted and wondered if we might not benefit from some level of restriction here as well. That way more changes would first be discussed here, and the sidebar would be a more stable product of consensus. (Yes, I recognize that this is rich coming from someone who just removed several categories completely on his own authority...) But I am not going to further argue the point if a consensus of support does not emerge on its own. For I do, in general, support a maximally open Wikipedia.
Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 19:01, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
As a fun aside (not as an argument against a Schools section—because I can well imagine strong counterarguments), this quote from Karl Jaspers came to mind: "Any objectification, whether it be the formation of schools or sects, is the ruin of philosophy. For the freedom that can be attained in philosophizing cannot be handed down by the doctrine of an institution. Only as an individual can man become a philosopher." Biogeographist (talk) 19:08, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Sapere aude! Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 19:14, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

invitation for comments or suggestion on current sidebar[edit]

If occurs to me, why not practice what I preach! So this post is an open inquiry for any thoughts on the current composition of the sidebar. Even if we don't want to change much (if anything), a discussion here could prove useful as a future point of reference.

For myself, the one further change I would like to make is to add Pragmatism to the Branches. It is the quintessentially American contribution to philosophy, and it remains a living tradition and active research program. It also has what looks to be a pretty good article. I think the rest of what is included under Branches is an appropriately judicious selection—as would be expected, given that I just curated it myself.

I have not done any work on the Philosophers or Philosophies sections, but I am impressed by whoever organized so much material so economically. I see no need for any changes there.

Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 19:58, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Pragmatism is, somewhat ironically given that we just deleted the Schools section, more like a school. It's in Epistemology § Schools of thought and in the Schools section of {{Epistemology sidebar}}. That may be because pragmatism is best known as a family of epistemological and metaphilosophical positions, although it touches other branches. (I said "family of" because different pragmatists have different positions, e.g., Peirce, James, and Dewey.) So, no, I don't think pragmatism fits in the Branches section because branches are a higher level of generality.
Perhaps that is another way of explaining why the (former) Schools section in this template was so weird: schools are often positions or families of positions in one of the major branches, and the previous Schools section mixed together schools from different branches, "apples and oranges". (Earlier I described the content of the Schools section as "responses to entirely different problems".) Biogeographist (talk) 21:04, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Glad I checked! Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 21:17, 9 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I like the consolidation to some extent, but I have to ask, does it really add to the navigational value? (which is the sole purpose of a sidebar). I look at Category:Philosophy by topic and see many absent topics in the brances, some of which are not really sub groups (the philosophy of music is not really a sub group of aesthetics, just as the philosophy of mathematics isn't really a subgroup of the philosophy of science).
Also, the chosen lists of philosophers seems a bit random—surely they should match the listed branches? – Aza24 (talk) 02:40, 10 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Responding to your first point only for now, I agree that it's worth thinking more about how to structure the Branches section to include more branches as subitems, but perhaps you are overlooking that Philosophy of art and Philosophy of fine arts both redirect to Aesthetics even though they can be distinguished from aesthetics. Considering that the Aesthetics article actually includes philosophy of the arts (which may or may not be the best decision), we could label that item "Aesthetics and the arts" (with a link to Aesthetics), and then philosophy of music would fit well as a subitem.
Similarly, if we consider that "Science" includes both formal sciences and factual sciences, then philosophy of mathematics would fit as a subitem, considering mathematics as a formal science. (Formal logic can also be considered a formal science but is central enough in philosophy to be among the primary branches at the top.) I added philosophy of physics as a subitem of philosophy of science (which wasn't my idea—I was merely correcting an odd addition that wrongly conflated natural philosophy with philosophy of physics) but was quickly reverted by PatrickJWelsh with the rationale that we shouldn't go into such detail in the branches, which was fine at the time, but this is an opportunity to reconsider the possibility of representing a broader array of specialties as subitems, which I agree could make the sidebar more useful. We just have to look at how many subitems would be added, to allay Patrick's stated fear that the list "could quickly become cumbersomely long". Biogeographist (talk) 03:39, 10 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
We don't need to duplicate what is in other philosophy sidebars, so we don't need any subitems under epistemology because we already have {{Epistemology sidebar}}. I just remembered that there are horizontal navboxes for {{Aesthetics}}, {{Ethics}}, {{Metaphysics}}, {{Philosophy}}, {{Philosophy of education}}, {{Philosophy of language}}, {{Philosophy of mind}}, {{Philosophy of religion}}, {{Philosophy of science}}, and {{Social and political philosophy}}. Now that I remember all these navboxes, I'm more inclined to agree again with Patrick that we should avoid putting any subitems in the Branches section. This sidebar is an overview at a high level of generality. Biogeographist (talk) 04:14, 10 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
You both are looking a level deeper than what I intended to address in my original post, which was just the sidebar, not the contents of "Category:Branches_of_philosophy". I believe the latter is auto-populated by the categories assigned to the article themselves. These get changed so often that I filtered them out of my watchlist, and I've only ever edited them when I've noticed something egregiously wrong (e.g., Aristotle as a "pro-slavery activist").
As to making the Philosophers parallel with the Branches, I am attracted by the symmetry, but I'm not convinced that we need a category of metaphilosophers, for instance, nor do I want to lose women in philosophy. If there's a way to make it work though, I support it in principle.
Cheers, Patrick J. Welsh (talk) 04:15, 10 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I think we're all talking about the sidebar. I take it that Aza24 was just looking at the category to see what might be missing from the sidebar. Biogeographist (talk) 04:31, 10 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]