• 83nt0n
    33
    What are your opinions on the issue of first philosophy? As in which branch of philosophy should be 'first'? Which branch do all the other branches depend on? Why?
    1. Which branch is first philosophy? (38 votes)
        Ethics
        8%
        Metaphysics
        24%
        Epistemology
        13%
        Logic
        24%
        Phenomenology
        11%
        Other
        21%
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I voted "other", but I was tempted by both logic and phenomenology.

    On my account, logic is not properly a branch of philosophy, but a tool used by philosophy, and a topic investigated equally by philosophy, language, and mathematics, lying at the intersection of all three. Co-equal to it as a tool of philosophy is rhetoric, which lies at the intersection of philosophy, language, and the arts.

    And on my account, phenomenology, or at least phenomenalism, is a core principle for how to properly do philosophy in general, along with principles I call criticism and liberalism (which together make up critical rationalism, which is closely related to logic, so there's that again), as well as objectivism. All of philosophy, rightly done, is about how to investigate our phenomenal experiences and the limits they converge toward (the "objects" of them) in a critical and open-minded ("liberal") way.

    I group metaphysics and epistemology together as part of the same half of philosophy, and conversely divide ethics up into two separate questions analogous to those two. Both that descriptive (metaphysics and epistemology) side and the prescriptive (ethics) side are co-equally important. Other important philosophical questions generally fall into one side of the other of that: philosophy of mind with the descriptive stuff, philosophy of will with the prescriptive stuff, philosophy of religion and education (which I kinda treat together) with the descriptive stuff, and political philosophy with the prescriptive stuff.

    The only things I wouldn't put on one side or the other of that divide, since they span both, are philosophy of language, and the field I don't know a name for that asks questions like "what is the meaning of life?" In different senses, either of those could be considered a "first philosophy": the linguistic meaning-of-words stuff is logically prior, needing answering to make sense of the rest, but the practical meaning-of-life stuff is pragmatically prior, being the reason why any of the other questions matter.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    Logic is the most fundamental branch of philosophy, as it is applied to all the other branches. Without logic, you can't make reasonable or sensible arguments in the other branches. You wouldn't even be able to make viable distinctions between the other branches.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    560
    Metaphysics. The question of whether there is a God - and if so, what is his nature - or not, and one's views on ontology (the nature of being) and our relationship to the universe I think is most fundamental. I place primary on one's fundamental attitude towards being (i.e. our relationship to it), then we can start with the thinking (epistemology, logic, and ethics is much dependent on epistemology.)
  • Adam's Off Ox
    61
    Phenomenology: We start our discussion with experience. Everything else in philosophy is derivative of phenomena.
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    Ethics. Metaphysics is presupposed by ethics rather than ethics derived from metaphysics. Or should be; I read them in reverse, I guess, like how I read detective "whodunit" stories. I squeeze more lemonaid out of the craft of plotting "mysteries" than I do out the plotty (ploddy) lemons themselves. (Reading Beckett lately; bear with me, or not.) Philosophers are, mostly, jargoneering pulp fictioniados hacking-out meta-"mysteries" for unread(able) journals & 'zines which seem to pay only by the semi-colon. Whatever; just not MetaEthics; anything, please, but that, that plotless

    :death: :flower:
  • Adam's Off Ox
    61
    Logic is the most fundamental branch of philosophy, as it is applied to all the other branches. Without logic, you can't make reasonable or sensible arguments in the other branches. You wouldn't even be able to make viable distinctions between the other branches.Harry Hindu

    I thought about selecting Logic, but I settled on Phenomenology. For me, the experience of concepts comes before reasoning about whether a statement is true — somewhat how definitions precede axioms.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    “...—a science containing the systematic presentation of the whole body of philosophical knowledge, true as well as illusory, given by pure reason—is called metaphysic...”

    Best start at the beginning, I would think.
  • unenlightened
    5k
    There is no first. Philosophy is reflexive, always secondary, always a questioning of whatever was first. Philosophy is always of something that it is parasitic on, and the question of the op, being a matter of the philosophy of philosophy, is not even secondary but tertiary a reflection on reflexivity.
  • 3017amen
    2.1k


    I voted Logic. To be succinct, philosophy itself lives in the logic of words, and language.
  • 83nt0n
    33
    Logic is the most fundamental branch of philosophyHarry Hindu

    My question would be how do we know we have the correct system of logic? Wouldn't we have to do epistemology first?
  • 83nt0n
    33
    Metaphysics.BitconnectCarlos

    But how do we know that we have the correct answers? How do we go about investigating reality (epistemology)?
  • Janus
    9.2k
    :up:

    I also voted for ethics. Of course it's easy to see that, from a straight up, superficially conventional perspective, ethics is not fundamental to metaphysics, epistemology, phenomenology or logic.

    But if those and all other domains of philosophy are understood to be culturally, symbolically, linguistically conditioned and ethical ideas are fundamental to every aspect of culture. then we might come to a different, more subtle, conclusion.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    560


    We won't know if we have the correct answers - this is philosophy, after all. I believe the nature of truth itself depends on whether we adopt a theistic/pantheistic/atheistic framework.
  • 83nt0n
    33
    We won't know if we have the correct answersBitconnectCarlos

    So we don't have hope against defeating skepticism?

    I believe the nature of truth itself depends on whether we adopt a theistic/pantheistic/atheistic framework.BitconnectCarlos

    Interesting. Do you mind explaining?
  • BitconnectCarlos
    560


    Interesting. Do you mind explaining?83nt0n

    In some religious traditions God is all knowing and all powerful, so you and I might see things one way but unless it matches God's view it can't be validated. I'm not saying I agree with this view I'm putting it out there as one way the existence of a God impacts truth.

    So we don't have hope against defeating skepticism?83nt0n

    I didn't say that, I just said that I personally don't believe the existence (or non existence) of a God can be derived purely through the use of reason. That's just my own view.
  • 83nt0n
    33
    Earlier you said
    We won't know if we have the correct answersBitconnectCarlos

    This seems to be implying skepticism. I would agree with you that the existence or non existence of a god likely can't be derived through reason alone.
  • Xtrix
    977


    I put "other," for ontology. Metaphysics is fine too. Asking about what "is," about being and beings, is first philosophy. It's why it begins when Western philosophy begins, in Anaximander, Parmenides, and Heraclitus.
  • Xtrix
    977
    Logic is the most fundamental branch of philosophy, as it is applied to all the other branches. Without logic, you can't make reasonable or sensible arguments in the other branches. You wouldn't even be able to make viable distinctions between the other branches.Harry Hindu

    But what your describing sounds more like thinking generally, not necessarily the subject of the rules of thought as propositions, etc., which is what logic is. Then we have to ask -- what were philosophers doing before the "logic" was even put forth in Aristotle?
  • Xtrix
    977


    I think those who are voting "logic" are equating logic with thought. I don't see them as synonyms, however, any more than the rules of grammar is synonymous with language.
  • BitconnectCarlos
    560


    I think ontology is a branch of metaphysics. Join the metaphysics club.
  • 3017amen
    2.1k


    Thank you for your observation. I agree. If the logic of language is synonymous with the notion that philosophy lives in words, this seems very limited and dichotomous. But of course as William James has suggested, truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that exceed that verbal formulation/that sense of logic.
  • Banno
    8.9k
    Yep. Take the fun out of fundamental,
  • Asif
    172
    Logic is the foundation of all philosophy,science and knowledge. By logic I mean informal logic and ordinary language logic. Logic is an expression of psychologism and is expressed through language,bodily motions and Intuition. The arbiter of logic Is the subjects coherent feelings. Logic is the science of successful Prediction.
  • hvvsp-philos
    1
    I think that logic would be the center of philosophy, since all other sciences derived from philosophy and the logical insights (that is, their observations of the natural phenomenons and the causes for it) the hundred/thousands of philosophers have made before the inception of science as we know.
  • Congau
    222
    Philosophy, as opposed to the sciences, is pure thinking, and the purest pure thinking within philosophy is metaphysics.

    Metaphysics does not have any empirical connections, whereas the other branches of philosophy at least make some reference to the physical or the empirical world.
    (Logic (and math) is an empty category waiting to be filled with physical content.)
    All science is knowledge about what is. Philosophy is about what is in the realm of pure thought.
    Metaphysics is about being as such, being in itself, and therefore the philosophy of the rest of philosophy.
  • Harry Hindu
    3.4k
    My question would be how do we know we have the correct system of logic? Wouldn't we have to do epistemology first?83nt0n
    Is there an incorrect system of logic? How would you know that you are thinking meaningfully or making useful statements about any topic - especially epistemology - without the logical rules of non-contradiction, identity, excluded middle, etc.?

    But what your describing sounds more like thinking generally, not necessarily the subject of the rules of thought as propositions, etc., which is what logic is. Then we have to ask -- what were philosophers doing before the "logic" was even put forth in Aristotle?Xtrix
    This is like asking what were our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors doing when they learned about the animals in their environment, how to grow plants, etc. before "science" was even put forth in Galileo. Humans have done science and thought logically since our arrival on this planet, but not always.

    I think those who are voting "logic" are equating logic with thought. I don't see them as synonyms, however, any more than the rules of grammar is synonymous with language.Xtrix
    No, we are equating logic with a particular type of thinking - correct thinking vs. incorrect thinking. Aristotle simply pointed out the differences in a formal way, and why one is better than the other when it comes to answering life's toughest questions.
  • Mww
    1.7k
    The arbiter of logic Is the subjects coherent feelings. Logic is the science of successful Prediction.Asif

    The thesis:
    The judgements of science are determined by how one feels about it.

    The antithesis:
    A subject’s feelings, generally, even if coherent, are always contingent, being sufficiently predicted on nothing but mere desire.
    Anything contingent is susceptible to contradiction.
    A successful prediction is necessary, or, which is the same thing, non-contradictory, insofar as some apodeictic consequent is given from antecedent conditions relative to it.
    Therefore, feelings can never judge that which is a logically necessary conclusion.

    The conditional:
    There may be the case a successful prediction does follow from a desire, but such is accidental, and the accidental, in and of itself, is hardly amendable to a logical science.
    A rational exception would be a successful prediction morally, for which a coherent feeling is fundamentally responsible. But that feeling is predicated on an obligation, not a mere desire, and is not a logically arbitrated judgement.
  • Asif
    172
    @Mww Any scientific theory or data is verified by the intellect the intuition which Is a feeling. Would a person claim a theory was correct if he didn't feel it was?
    All truth and knowledge needs a subject an interpreter. And the proof is always the 'aha' moment.
  • Gmak
    6
    Politics for me. I'm sorry but I think it all start from there. The root.
  • 83nt0n
    33
    Is there an incorrect system of logic? How would you know that you are thinking meaningfully or making useful statements about any topic - especially epistemology - without the logical rules of non-contradiction, identity, excluded middle, etc.?Harry Hindu

    There are several conflicting systems of logic. For example, dialetheism denies the law of non-contradiction. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dialetheism/ Even the axioms of logic are disputed. So how do we know which system to use?
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.