• Purple Pond
    433
    I was just googling types of philosophy and found out that philosophy covers a lot; From ethics to environmental philosophy, there's a ton of material. Heck, you can even philosophize about philosophizing. My question is concerning the domain of philosophy. As the title of this OP says: What can't you philosophize about? Is there something so mundane that there simply no application for philosophy? Perhaps you can't philosophize about eating porridge.

    I can already see you responding to my OP by demanding what I mean by philosophizing. I'll preemptively respond to that demand by saying, I don't know exactly what it means to philosophize. I need your help. I leave it to you to first figure out what it means to philosophize, and then you can please answer my first question (see title). I hope this goes well.
  • Wallows
    7.5k


    God's feet! I'll have to read that tomorrow.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    You can't philosophize about the content of empirical sciences. The philosopher doesn't tell you that Caesar crossed the Rubicon or that the earth is round. Those are not subjects of Philosophy. The philosopher might enquire by what methods these things can cogently be established and examine assumptions made in the course of establishing these things, but the historian and the scientist tell you that Caesar crossed the Rubicon and that the earth is round, not the Philosopher.
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    To me, philosophy is structured, considered, thought on anything you can think about. So the answer to your question is: anything you can't think about.
  • NKBJ
    894


    Every scientist is using philosophy for establishing empirical data. The scientific method IS philosophy.
  • DingoJones
    718


    In what way? Obviously you don’t mean the two are synonymous, but Im not sure what else you could mean.
  • NKBJ
    894


    The scientific method is a philosophical approach to getting knowledge about the physical world that presupposes the laws of logic, naturalism, and uniformity of nature.
  • DingoJones
    718


    Are naturalism and uniformity of nature the domain of philosophy? Isnt anything philosophy then?
  • NKBJ
    894
    As the title of this OP says: What can't you philosophize about? Is there something so mundane that there simply no application for philosophy? Perhaps you can't philosophize about eating porridge.Purple Pond

    You can philosophize about anything and everything. There are things which may be too trivial to want to philosophize about.
  • NKBJ
    894


    No. A bowl of porridge is not philosophy. But you can philosophize about it.
  • DingoJones
    718


    Lol, fair enough. I should have been more specific.
    So: isnt all things involving thinking philosophy then? If that is so, why are you specifying science?
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Nothing, oh wait Heidegger did that
  • NKBJ
    894
    So: isnt all things involving thinking philosophy then? If that is so, why are you specifying science?DingoJones

    I think philosophy is any kind of serious inquiry and analysis. Not all thoughts are philosophy. "I'm hungry" or "I forgot to schedule my annual dental appointment" are not philosophical thoughts.

    I'm specifying science because PossibleAaran said that it wasn't philosophy.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.4k
    We can philosophize about "everything", which includes nothing.

    OR

    If you can't philosophize about it, it's ineffable, or inaccessible in the first place, hence the titular cannot possibly answered.
  • DingoJones
    718


    Well those two things require logic and analysis, but I take your point. It seems a strange way to phrase it to me. Isnt science based on philosophy, rather than is philosophy? Science can be a part of philosophy, ie there is a philosophy to science, just like there is a philosophy to baseball, or the movie The Matrix but those things are not philosophy. Or would you say they are?
  • NKBJ
    894


    Yes, I think science is a sub-discipline of philosophy. I think it's (almost?) entirely philosophical though in way that baseball is not. Science seeks to understand the world, gain knowledge, explain things, create new things... that's all philosophical. Baseball seeks to entertain. You can philosophize about entertainment, but entertaining is not a kind of philosophizing.
  • DingoJones
    718


    Science is more than just theory though, its physical experimentation. Even if the scientific method is philosophy in the way you describe that doesnt mean science is philosophy in the same way.
    Also, science can entertain. Indeed, most entertainment has a basis in science these days. Does that mean entertainment is science?
  • NKBJ
    894


    Philosophy entertains me all the time. But that's not it's purpose.

    Non-theoretical science is applied philosophy. Philosophy in action.
  • DingoJones
    718


    Ok, so what is the benifit of using the term philosophy in such broad terms? Whats the usefulness of doing so if you have to operate within catagorical parameters in order to work and think in these “sub-catagories” of philosophy anyway?
  • NKBJ
    894


    Usefulness? I was thinking that's just the way it is. Like, what's the use of calling all green, red, and yellow apples fruit? It's just the way it is.

    But I guess you could glean some use of the classification:
    1) It serves as a reminder to those who pooh-pooh philosophy that it's not all "how many angels fit on the head of a pin."
    2) It serves to encourage scientists and the like to study more "traditional" philosophy, which would definitely improve their work.
    3) It encourages them to collaborate with more "traditional" philosophers, which just benefits everyone.

    What do you think?
  • Possibility
    115
    As the title of this OP says: What can't you philosophize about? Is there something so mundane that there simply no application for philosophy?Purple Pond

    There are plenty of things that are not philosophy, but that wasn’t the question. You can philosophise about science, but science is not philosophy, nor is it a branch of philosophy. Science requires a certain amount of philosophising as a rule, but like baseball, there’s not much point in philosophising about it unless at some point you act on it: test the theory, apply it to a ‘controlled’ sample of subjective experiences and look for the holes, errors and inconsistencies.

    I think the only things you can’t philosophise about are whatever you would consider to be a sure certainty in life. If you have no questions about it, or would rather not know what you don’t know, then there is no way for you to apply philosophy to it.

    Of course, there are many of us here who choose to just keep philosophising, almost as a reason not to act - like we’ve taken the structure apart to explore how it all works, but lost interest in putting it back together and getting it working again.

    And there are others who’d rather just drive the car until a red light comes up on the dash, and then take it to a mechanic...
  • DingoJones
    718


    Well Im always open to better uses of a word if it serves better. I guess we disagree that the way you are defining philosophy is the standard way. It seems broader than the usual use of the word.
    I also don’t put a lot of stock into “traditional” philosophy, if we are using that term the same way.
    Critical thinking seems pretty universally useful, but I wouldnt say thats something only under the perview of philosophy.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    Every scientist is using philosophy for establishing empirical data. The scientific method IS philosophy.NKBJ

    Yes that's true, but collecting empirical data is to establish that the earth is round or that man evolved from prior species is not doing Philosophy. It is doing science grounded on philosophical assumptions.

    You might distinguish between Philosophy in the wide sense and Philosophy in the narrow sense. In the wide sense, absolutely every enquiry into anything is Philosophy, since it will always presuppose philosophical assumptions. But Philosophy in the narrow sense is directly about the assumptions of ordinary life and enquiry. It isn't using them as a basis for empirical work, but examining them directly.

    PA
  • NKBJ
    894
    I also don’t put a lot of stock into “traditional” philosophy, if we are using that term the same wayDingoJones

    Well, you're doing it right here! :razz:
  • NKBJ
    894
    But Philosophy in the narrow sense is directly about the assumptions of ordinary life and enquiry. It isn't using them as a basis for empirical work, but examining them directly.PossibleAaran

    Ah, and how do you distinguish those two things?
  • NKBJ
    894


    Fun fact, the "division" between philosophers and scientists is a historically relatively new development. Back in ye olden days, they were considered one and the same thing. That's literally why it's called a PhD!
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    Fun fact, the "division" between philosophers and scientists is a historically relatively new development. Back in ye olden days, they were considered one and the same thing. That's literally why it's called a PhD!NKBJ

    Yes, I know. The distinction is a useful one.

    Ah, and how do you distinguish those two things?NKBJ

    Between Philosophy in the wide sense and Philosophy in the narrow sense? Philosophy in the wide sense is any form of enquiry or rational thought into anything. Philosophy in the narrow sense is the sort of thing you see in contemporary philosophy articles. Because the distinction arose, as you point out, in a quite organic way historically, it isn't possible to draw the lines very sharply. What ends up in Philosophy (in the narrow sense) is largely a mish-mash of topics that (a) have not been taken on by other accepted forms of enquiry, (b) do not have a largely agreed upon method for their resolution, (c) are discussed by the great philosophers of previous eras without firm resolution, (d) seem to be relevant in the assessment of other philosophical issues (e) continue some project carved out for philosophy by past thinkers, or any combination of these things. These things are often assumptions of other discourses, but, on reflection, I see that they are not always. It is quite easy to list examples of things which fall into these categories and things which don't. "Does God exist?" falls in, "Did Caesar cross the Rubicon?" doesn't. There are of course boundary cases and things which seem not to fit neatly into either/or, but the distinction is useful all the same.

    In the wide sense you can philosophize about anything. In the narrow sense, only certain subjects count. There isn't any deep reason why. It's just what's left over when you start with the whole range of enquiry and take away anything which has branched into a new discipline with its own identity.
    PA
  • NKBJ
    894
    There isn't any deep reason why.PossibleAaran

    Yeah, I can see that.

    It's just what's left over when you start with the whole range of enquiry and take away anything which has branched into a new discipline with its own identity.PossibleAaran

    That's just like saying biology is not science because it has it's own identity...
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