• PossibleAaran
    224
    Well I'm not saying that it's good or bad. I'm just describing the academic discipline of Philosophy as a means of answering the OP. Philosophy has its own specific subject matter, like Biology does.

    PA
  • NKBJ
    894


    We'll just have to agree to disagree.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    What exactly is the disagreement about? I don't remember disagreeing with you about anything.

    PA
  • NKBJ
    894


    You say the sciences are not sub-disciplines of philosophy. (Something about a narrow versus broad sense?) I say they are.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    Not quite what I said. The academic discipline that goes by the name of "Philosophy" today does not have the sciences as sub-disciplines. Go to any Philosophy department and see if you find any Biology or Chemistry classes. Look in any philosophy journal and see if you find the latest on human genetics. The discipline contains certain subjects and not others.

    I agree with you that if you define Philosophy in the way ancient philosophers did, and even early-moderns did, it includes the sciences.

    Is there something you disagree with in this?

    PA
  • NKBJ
    894
    Go to any Philosophy department and see if you find any Biology or Chemistry classes.PossibleAaran

    The philosophy department through which I got my degree frequently did dual courses, sometimes even taught by two professors.

    And my philosophy professors were the ones to point out that science is just a form of natural or applied philosophy.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    The philosophy department through which I got my degree frequently did dual courses, sometimes even taught by two professors.NKBJ

    So did mine, but they were dual; Philosophy and Psychology in my case. Philosophy and History for a friend of mine. These subjects were not listed as part of the Philosophy department, nor are they so listed in most universities, so far as I know.

    And my philosophy professors were the ones to point out that science is just a form of natural or applied philosophy.NKBJ

    Yes and they are right, by the ancient/early-modern definition of Philosophy. But that doesn't change the fact that those who call themselves academic philosophers don't do experiments with chemical compounds or microorganisms, nor gene studies nor look in to the daily lives of the old Romans. And those who do those experiments and studies don't call themselves philosophers anymore (though they used to). They call themselves scientists or historians. Philosophers study certain topics by profession, and not others.

    PA
  • ChatteringMonkey
    224
    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.
    Purple Pond

    Some will no doubt disagree with this, but I think, going back to the beginning with Socrates, philosophy, or at least good philosophy, is ultimately about how to live well. And to find answers to that question, it uses language in a particular way, by utilizing logic and formulating arguments.

    So then to answer the first question, one would have to look for things that don't lend them especially well to be analysed with language and reasoned arguments. And I'd suggest you'll find those there where other forms of communication and expression that rely more on rhythm and sound, like music and poetry, are typically more succesfull.
  • NKBJ
    894


    Sigh. And we're right back where we started. Again, let's just agree to disagree. I'd prefer not to repeat myself ad infinitum.
  • Valentinus
    356
    One thing that can not be interpreted are experiences that either happen or not.
    We want these experiences that make other questions mute.
    The rest is a festival of disappointment.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    It would be good to be clear about the disagreement first. I know you say "Philosophy includes the natural sciences". I don't know if I disagree or not, because I'm not sure what you mean.

    My own claim was that if you look at the actual practices of people who call themselves "philosophers", very few of them do anything like studies of microorganisms, genes, planets or the like. If you skim the IEP you won't find any entries discussing how different animals reproduce. A simple scan here: https://www.iep.utm.edu/a/

    Will reveal no topics normally falling under "natural science". And if you look in journals like "The Journal of Philosophy" or "Philosophy and Phenomenological Research", you won't find any studies of that kind either. If you go to most university websites and look up what is taught on their Philosophy programme, you won't find modules about plant biology. I went to the Birmingham University website and took a look at the Philosophy department. The intro to the subject says:

    "Have you ever considered the difference between knowing something and merely believing it? Have you ever worried about how to tell right from wrong, or even considered that there may be no such things? Perhaps you’ve even asked yourself how it is that words and sentences have meaning - how this printed material is conveying information to you? Come to Birmingham to study Philosophy and develop the analytical skills required to address these issues" -https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/ptr/departments/philosophy/undergraduate/index.aspx


    Note that it doesn't pose any natural scientific question and that these subjects are taught in a different department. They also have a list of their research projects in the department, and none of it is what would normally be called "natural science": https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/ptr/departments/philosophy/research/index.aspx

    The same would be true of almost every Philosophy department, and that is why I say that Philosophy is the study of certain topics and not others. I merely describe what is practiced under the heading "Philosophy" as an academic discipline.

    Do you deny these things? If you don't I'm not sure that we disagree, or what you mean to say.

    PA
  • NKBJ
    894


    If your point only is that academia has disciplines labeled "philosophy" and "biology," then yeah, that's true.

    My point is, that this is like the word "cat." We may commonly understand "cat" to be our little purring fur-angels (I like my cat, if you couldn't tell :P) but "tiger" and "leopard" and "lynx" are also kinds of cats, even though they are in some ways classified differently from house cats.

    Thinking about it, however, I've been reconsidering my stance on the mere data-gathering parts of science. Those particular activities may not be very philosophical, but biology only matters and is able to do or say anything meaningful by subsequently philosophizing about that data. It's a central part of the discipline.
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    You say the sciences are not sub-disciplines of philosophy. (Something about a narrow versus broad sense?) I say they are.NKBJ

    Science is a tool - a remarkable and very powerful tool (within its area of applicability) - that grew out of several related schools of philosophy. It grew up and left home a long time ago, and has since established its own identity. Not that this actually matters. :wink: Considered thinking uses (should use) all applicable/useful tools to achieve its aims. Science is one such tool; its parent (philosophy) is another.

    It's all fun! :up:
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    When you say that the natural sciences are part of Philosophy, what is it that you mean by "Philosophy"? Because when I use that word, I merely refer to the academic discipline that has that label, but obviously you mean something different.

    PA
  • YuZhonglu
    146
    What can't you philosophize about?

    My response: the infinite.
  • S
    9.7k
    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.PossibleAaran

    No, the good philosopher will tell you those things, because he doesn't disregard what can be known through history and science. What can be known, and what is known, is part of philosophy. Philosophy is extremely broad.

    I strongly disagree with the attempt to spin philosophy as something which must look remarkably different. It isn't all evil demons and the like.

    It seems foolish to even attempt to answer the title question. What can't you philosophise about? Nothing. Except even that can be philosophised about.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    My question to you is the same as I ask NKBJ: what do you mean by "Philosophy"?

    PA
  • S
    9.7k
    My question to you is the same as I ask NKBJ: what do you mean by "Philosophy"?PossibleAaran

    Philosophy covers metaphysics and epistemology, which in turn covers what history and science cover.

    And yes, I deliberately ignored defining "philosophy".
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    We make some progress here, but I'm sure you know that "metaphysics" and "epistemology" are again technical terms which philosophers use in different ways. So I will have to ask again what you mean by these two words, exactly?

    PA
  • S
    9.7k
    We make some progress here, but I'm sure you know that "metaphysics" and "epistemology" are again technical terms which philosophers use in different ways. So I will have to ask again what you mean by these two words, exactly?PossibleAaran

    That's the thing: you don't have to ask that. Are you, or are you not, capable of identifying questions covered by each branch of philosophy? Yes, you are.

    If I took you to a room with a blue vase and a red vase, you would be capable of identifying them without me having to define terms.
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    Well certainly I thought I was, but I wouldn't include scientific or historical questions under Philosophy, and you would. So you must be defining these things in a different way to me.

    PA
  • S
    9.7k
    Well certainly I thought I was, but I wouldn't include scientific or historical questions under Philosophy, and you would. So you must be defining these things in a different way to me.PossibleAaran

    You shouldn't capitalise the first letter of the word "philosophy". It's ungrammatical.

    And why would you dispute what seems so obvious? That metaphysics and epistemology are branches of philosophy; that metaphysics deals with reality and what's the case; that epistemology deals with what can be known, and what is known; and that history and science are subcategories of that?
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    And why would you dispute what seems so obvious? That metaphysics and epistemology are branches of philosophy; that metaphysics deals with reality and what's the case; that epistemology deals with what can be known, and what is known; and that history and science are subcategories of that?S

    I'm not disputing that philosophy, as you define it, includes metaphysics and epistemology and then science and history as subcategories. There is no fact of the matter about that "is" and "isn't" philosophy. It just depends how you define the word, which is why I asked you how you define it.

    What I don't understand, however, is why you want to define philosophy in this way. If philosophy, as you define it, pnly involves metaphysics and epistemology, then you miss out ethics and aesthetics, which are standardly taught on philosophy courses, and researched by people who call themselves philosophers. Your definition also includes research in history and science. Most people who identify as philosophers do not do this sort of work, and most people who do this sort of work don't identify as philosophers. These are only fatal flaws in your definition if you care about actual practice, but if the definition serves some other purpose than capturing actual practice, all well and good.

    PA
  • S
    9.7k
    That's a really inconspicuous straw man: I did not say at any point that philosophy only involves metaphysics and epistemology. And I'm well aware of the distinction between philosophy and history and science. I'm not suggesting what you are wasting your time attacking. Please don't insult my intelligence.

    Is it, or is it not, the case that history and science make claims of the sort that fall under the broader category of branches of philosophy such as metaphysics and epistemology, in spite of belonging to the more specific category of history or science? Is the claim that Earth orbits the Sun not a claim about reality or what's the case? Is the claim that we know that Caesar crossed the Rubicon not a claim falling under the broad category of epistemology?
  • NKBJ
    894
    Because when I use that word, I merely refer to the academic discipline that has that label, but obviously you mean something different.PossibleAaran

    You can have that definition if you want, but it's simply not a complete one. It would be like someone insisting that "cat" only ever refers to "house cat."
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    Is it, or is it not, the case that history and science make claims of the sort that fall under the broader category of branches of philosophy such as metaphysics and epistemologyS

    Yes, it's true. Scientists make claims about how the world is, and according to some philosophers, that's what metaphysics studies. But there are many different ways that philosophers have defined metaphysics and so no reason to stick with any particular definition so far as I can see.

    But even if philosophers had always in the past defined "metaphysics" as the study of reality and listed it as a branch of philosophy, I don't understand what reason there is for sticking with this definition now. I don't see the point in defining philosophy in such a way that it includes topics which are simply not investigated by anyone who identifies as doing philosophy and explicitly called something other than philosophy by most people. Am I missing something?

    You can have that definition if you want, but it's simply not a complete one. It would be like someone insisting that "cat" only ever refers to "house cat."NKBJ

    What could be meant by "complete"? Why is yours "complete"? It isn't like there is some shiny platonic form of philosophy and you only correctly define philosophy when you correctly describe the form. "Philosophy" is just a word and we choose to define it however we wish. So is the word "cat". It is useful to the biologist to have the word "feline" for all members of a certain family of animals. It is useful for most ordinary folk to have the word "cat" just for particular creatures that walk around their neighbourhoods. The word "feline" is not "more complete" than the word "cat". There are purposes where having "cat" mean just "house cat" is far more useful than having it refer to the entire feline family, and vice versa.

    PA
  • RBS
    40
    Many have given philosophy a dimension of nothing or as they would refer to it breathing the air or bla bla....or mmmm..mmmm..

    To me its love for knowledge and that you can philosophize the heck out of anything that you want to be knowledge-full about it....
  • NKBJ
    894
    It isn't like there is some shiny platonic form of philosophy and you only correctly define philosophy when you correctly describe the form. "Philosophy" is just a word and we choose to define it however we wish.PossibleAaran

    And there are better and worse ways to define things. If I define "philosophy" as "tree" that's a really bad definition. If I leave out from the definition of "tree" all conifers, that's a really bad definition. Your definition simply does not cover all that philosophy is. You're leaving out all the "conifers" because you want to limit it to only what is "deciduous."
  • Pattern-chaser
    950
    Your definition simply does not cover all that philosophy is. You're leaving out all the "conifers" because you want to limit it to only what is "deciduous."NKBJ

    Nicely put. :up: :smile:
  • PossibleAaran
    224
    And there are better and worse ways to define things. If I define "philosophy" as "tree" that's a really bad definition. If I leave out from the definition of "tree" all conifers, that's a really bad definition. Your definition simply does not cover all that philosophy is. You're leaving out all the "conifers" because you want to limit it to only what is "deciduous."NKBJ

    I don't think your analogy here is really apt. If I left out conifers in defining "tree" I would be leaving out things which it is very useful to include under the general term, "tree". What I leave out in my definition is only what (a) most people outside of philosophy don't call philosophy, and (b) is not practiced by most people who identify as philosophers. So I'm not leaving out anything that it is useful to include, so far as I see. Is there any utility to including science in the definition of "philosophy"? If not, why bother?

    Also, you made another appeal to "what philosophy is", which again suggests that there is some fixed thing, the form of philosophy.

    PA
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