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== Recap ==
== Recap ==

Revision as of 09:12, 24 December 2009

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Latest edit to the article concerning the lead section; 23:28, 8 June 2008 (71,284 bytes; reinstated pov tag). [1]

The three options under consideration

Current version:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning existence, knowledge, moral judgments, mind and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing these questions (such as mysticism or mythology) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[1][2][3]


Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning concepts such as existence, knowledge, truth, value judgments, reasoning, mind and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing these questions (such as mysticism or mythology) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[4][5][6]

The latest suggestion made on 18:52, 9 July 2008:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning concepts such as existence, knowledge, ethics, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing these questions (such as mysticism or mythology) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on reasoned argument. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[1][2][3]

- I suggest we either (i) do nothing, leaving the lede as it, or (ii) post Y or (iii) post the latest proposal. Editors would then be then free to further discuss the lede if they are so minded. --Philogo 19:19, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Both my suggestion and your suggestion have aroused strong objections. I think we're stuck with the current version until somebody comes up with something better. Rick Norwood (talk) 19:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I am content with the current version but prefer Y. --Philogo 19:28, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Only Option Y gives a nod to logic in some form. It'd be better wikilinked and so it's six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-the-other for me between it and the current version. (I do like the serial comma in the last version!) Leaving the current version in or inserting Option Y and then hopefully seeing some progress elsewhere in the article, which reads like an outline, would be nice. JJL (talk) 19:44, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I can live with the current version. However I find it very difficult to live with editors who simply assert a position. I have made a case that logic, while an important branch of philosophy cannot be said to define it. In this respect I have referenced other forms of argument (metaphor) and also challenges to the nature of language and its ability in all contexts to make exact statements. If logic is to be inserted in the opening then someone has to counter that with argument (which does not include some universities making it a compulsory course). --

Snowded (talk) 20:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't really follow your argument. No one claims that logic defines phil., just that it is a major area of it. You're still entirely missing the point, I think. We agree that not all things called phil. use logic as a means of investigation. But most things called phil. and all things called Western phil. (the main thrust of this page) study logic (by whatever means). When an Oriental philosopher considers that a thing can simultaneously be both hard and soft--often described as an example of non-Aristotelian logic--that person is arguably discussing (a certain type of) logic or reasoning, even if you find his approach to it metaphorical. Do you understand that I am distinguishing between logic as an area studied and logic/reason as a tool used? I keep saying that logic is a major area of investigation, and you keep repeating that logic is not always used in philosophical investigations. Both these things could be true. Indeed, there are experimental and computational approaches to the study of logic. JJL (talk) 01:32, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

(indent direct to comment above note date stamp as material is now out of sequence) Surprisingly I don't think I am missing the point entirely or otherwise. The essence of the first sentence is that it does not list branches or methods. Logic is a method, in part its subject is language. It is thus wrong to include logic here (and right to include it as a branch). I note that you want to distinguish between logic as a method and logic as a subject but that is disingenuous. Even as a method (as I think we are agreed) logic is not universal or uncontroversial. What we are talking about in reality is the second sentence - the use of reason (which can encompass logic) and a generally critical attitude. Neither by the way is this a west-east issue, it also relates to sum of the funamental differences between anglo-saxon philosophy and the continent (to take just one example). Methods, or words which can be interpreted as methods, should not be in the opening sentence. --Snowded (talk) 03:00, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'm fully in disagreement with you--as is Logic, which describes it as a "study" of things, and also, it seems, the faculties of phil. of Harvard and Stanford, which consider it a core area alongside epistemology etc. It seems to me that the work of Godel is not a method but rather a study of logic itself. To say that it is only a method flies in the face of much significant work and history. JJL (talk) 03:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually you don't know if you disagree with me or not. I am arguing a position that the view you espouse above (the anglo-saxon norm) is not universal. It is controversial, and has been over history. If you want to know my personal opinion on the subject ask me off line and I will oblige. For the moment we are dealing with the wikipedia which can not reflect one view of a field. --Snowded (talk) 05:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't quite follow that Snowed. Logic is not mentioned in any of the three proposals per se. Version Y drops it as a wiki-link, so why do you prefer the current version to Y? I support Y because (a) it drops the wiki-links and there are lots of reasons given for doing that (b) it includes Truth as something which gives rise to philosophical problems, whcih it surely does (c) It has "value judgements" rather than "ethics". I do not see that "ethics" is a concept that give rise to problems, it is concepts like moral judgments, Justice, Duty etc that do that. "Value judgements" also indudes aesthetic judgements problems with which aethetics deals. Since we are only giving EXAMPLES of things which give rise to phil probs, we could, I supppose, instead of "value judgments" (which Rik really hates) have other examples of problem concepts with which Ethics and Aesthetics deal, eg "..moral and aesthetic goodness,.. ", or "duties, beauty..". Perhaps Rik would go along with that; they are more specific (d) I am not really so very keen on "reasoning" because I am not sure it is concept that gives rise to so many phil probs: validity, entailment do so more. On the whole I think Y addresses a number of concerns which editors have with the current version. There was a while back discontenct with the word "concepts"; that could easily be dealt with by something like "matters". Then we would have perhaps

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind and language.

If more examples are needed we could alway add some more--Philogo 21:58, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

(indent) I think you are misreading. I am happy with Y, I can live with the current version. I like value judgements but I would not prevent a consensus by insisting on it. My references to logic are in response to the assertions of other editors in this thread that it should be there. Overall I just want this to stop, it is one of the most frustrating experiences I have had on the WIkipedia in respect of use of authority, engagement with arguments, willingness to reach a consensus (everytime we get close someone opens another issue or more frequently reverts to an earlier one we have already handled), using editing conventions etc., attacks of Zorastrianism. The whole thing is surreal.--Snowded (talk) 22:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Sorry. Would you go along with subsituting justice, beauty, for "value jusgements": they are only exmaples remember. That MIGHT make Rik happy. And if we addded validity that would be something for logic to deal with, which might cheer up JJL One more wild idea, t get away frm sentcen one. Why not insert a sentence two whcih gave exmples of phil probs with each (or some) of the "matters" we mention in sentence one. It would fill out the lede niceley, show the reader the sort of prblems phil is all about, and why the matters mentioned are mentioned. We would ebable to come up with half a dozed phil pronbs in ten minutes or so. Its uite commn in enc articles on phil to give example probs. After we have done with this I am tempted to retire to work on a less popular site since ths is really rather wearing.--Philogo 22:32, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I prefer value judgements as it encompasses a lot. Not so sure about justice and beauty as they do not cover the same ground but open to ideas. I would not add another sentence two, opens up a can of worms, lets try to get sentence one right. As for you I would like to move off this site and get some coherence into other pages such as that on experimental philosophy which needs work along with others. --Snowded (talk) 23:03, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
Well I prefor value judgments as well but since (a) Rik claims that this is a term known only to, or used in a special way, by professional philosophers, and is not to be persuaded otherwise despite various citations, and despite nobody else saying they agree with him (b) we are only giving EXAMPLES of matters wxchi give rise to philopsphiocal problems, I suggest we give a couple of exmaples of such matters instead of "value judgments", one from ethics and one from aesthetics, and I just suggested justice, beauty; any other good examples would do. Rik has suggested "Ethics" but that not a matter that's a branch pf philosphy not a matter causing problems that Ethics would seek to address. We cold just as well have duty, obligation, right, responsobility, moral culpabilty.. take your pick. We cannot cover the whole ground of all matters give rise to all problems that all branches consider. Otheresie it will begin to look like:

existence, objecthood, property, space, time, causality, possibility,truth, belief, justification, minds, or mental processes, bodily states or processes, emotion, will, belief, language, meaning, language use, extension, intension, synonymy, Language acquisition, language creation, speech acts, mind interpreter, translation, truth and Reference, declaration, proposition, statement, truth, analytic, synthetic, contingency, validity, entailment, inference, necessity, proof, reference, designation, predication, relation, denotation, conotation, synonimity, meaning, logical consequence, quantification, scope of logic , second-order logic, empirical knowledge, modal logic, moral judgement, justice, fairness, rights, duty, culpability, right, wrong and the good life.

As to the argument about logic. Once more the problems seems to be that editors are not pciking up on the fact that sentecne one does not, in fact avoids, giving a list of bnanches, but instead a list of examples of matters that give rise to phil probs. and I have suggested "validity".--Philogo 13:16, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, "truth, justice..." would make "Rik" happy...though having grown up watching the Superman tv show in the 1950s, I can't read "truth, justice,..." without adding "...and the American way." (Strange visitor from another planet...)

"Justice is the interest of the stronger." certainly places justice as something philosophy has considered from the beginning. I would slightly prefer "esthetics" to "beauty", since some modern philosophers consider "ugliness" more esthetic than "beauty", but no biggie.

The examples that Philogo suggests would "fill out the lede niceley" seem to me more appropriate below the ToC, and would any case insure that our discussion of the lede went on at least another year.

Rick Norwood (talk) 13:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Not even "Rik" agrees with what Philogo claims "Rik" claims. Philogo writes: "(a) Rik claims that this is a term known only to, or used in a special way, by professional philosophers, and is not to be persuaded otherwise despite various citations, and despite nobody else saying they agree with him." What I "claimed" was that according to Wikipedia, value judgments are based on a "personal view", and that no source anyone has quoted lists "value judgments" as a major subject considered by philosophy. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:23, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

= It depends upon what you use the information about the subject matter for. Most people are looking for ideas (good ideas that is) about how to under stand things. And they'll even wade through the history of philosophical thought and terminology if they think there might be some good and practical ideas in there. But just history wont do it. And I dont think you want to leave the subject matter up to just the ideas of professional philosophers.WFPM (talk) 17:08, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

The definition of philosophy isn't even close here. The word comes from two greak words Phillo which means wisdom and Sophie which means love. Phillosophy is the love of wisdom. It uses both Empiricist and Rational arguments to search for wisdom. Modern day philosophy is post-Socratic which means after Socrates. Generally the use of philosophy is the search for the Good, as Socrates called it. Philosophy does not serve to purpose of answering questions but asking more important questions. (Justin Kadoura)

Philogo's proposal for the first sentence.

"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind and language.""

I'm for it. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:28, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree (please let this end) --Snowded (talk) 13:58, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Too wordy and unwikilinked, but in the name of ending this, I don't object. JJL (talk) 17:10, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

"Philosophy — the study of..." (twelve nouns, zero verbs). /NewbyG (talk) 01:02, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

It's acceptable. Can we do something to protect it, so we don't have to go through this process again, possibly with different editors, a few months from now? 271828182 (talk) 17:18, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

No you can't protect it - its not even very good and shouldn't be protected. Cut it short and swap out the 2nd sentence.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice and beauty. Major branches of Philosophy include Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[1][2][3] Karbinski (talk) 18:12, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Second sentence has been uncontroversial throughout this discussion. Branches of philosophy are in the next section and much as I like the subjects I don't see Politics and Aesthetics as major branches, any more than logic. --Snowded (talk) 19:46, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I sense we are as in agreement as we are ever going to be and so I am posting the first sentence just as it appears above.--Philogo 21:38, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

GOOD, also note that we can to a degree protect it. After a long discussion and a consensus it is legitimate to revert changes for a period and to enforce the new status quo if a new discussion starts--Snowded (talk) 21:51, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I have celebrated by posting pics of Plato and Frege in the article in sections where there were no pics. They appear bigger that the other pics but I have no idea how to shrink them. The article as a whole seems a but lean doesn't it?--Philogo 22:02, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I want to change the first sentence.

I would really like to add a comma after "mind", but if anyone objects, I withdraw the suggestion. Rick Norwood (talk) 16:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

This is my preference also, but may be a dialect issue. JJL (talk) 17:55, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

The comma after the penultimate item on a list is called an "Oxford comma". William F. Buckley argued in favor of the Oxford comma on the following grounds. The comma separates, "and" connects. To drop a separator because of the presence of a connective is illogical. That being said, one objection, from anyone, is enough to kill the idea, as far as I am concerned. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:36, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

I could never get worked up about this sort of thing so happy to go with the majority
I cannot say I would be worked up either, but the insertion of a comma would seem quite displeasing and, so far as I can see, would not make the sense of the sentence any clearer. The purpose of punctuation is surely to make sense clearer and thefore, failing this test, the insertion of a comma would surely be a waste of a perfecty good byte. --Philogo 22:59, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
PS I note there is a whole article on this use of the comma: Serial comma. I note that it says that it is more common in the US than UK which may explain our varied reactions. --Philogo 23:04, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that was the dialect issue to which I referred. JJL (talk) 23:25, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Philogo objects. The comma will not be placed in the sentence, at least not by me. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:47, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Edit war?

It would appear that Karbinski is starting an edit war with other editors. I suggest that he rasies any issues on this talk page so that we may give them due consideration. Edit wars are just a waste of everybody's time.--Philogo 23:24, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

discussion here --> Calling for verification on Wikipedia is *not* starting an edit war. Trying to dodge such a call is certainly cause for concern that the consensus reached here is OR/POV. Karbinski (talk) 23:32, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
The consensus is just that--written by committee and guaranteed to leave no one happy. JJL (talk) 23:33, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Karbinski If you have any reasoned objections to the lede please post them here like everybody else so that they can be disussed. --Philogo 00:27, 12 July 2008 (UTC) You said "I have deferred to your consensus, as I clearly arrived late onto the scene." but you have preoceded to edit te article without subsequent discussion.--Philogo 00:30, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
You earlier proposed the following lede:

"Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence in order to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. Major branches of Philosophy include Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[1][2][3]"

This was criticised by Snowed and I but you have not answered any of the objections. I raisied the points shown below regarding your proposal but instead of answering them you have got into an edit was with two other editors. In working on this article the editors involved have had different views but have respected each other's views and seen the need to justify their own viewpoints. Either say why you should not do the same or answer the criticsms I have made (reproduced below) about your proposal. If you have withdrawn that proposal say here what your objections are (with reasons) and say what your alternative proposals are (with reasons) as all your fellow editors have done.

Your suggested lede gives a stangely poor and ill-written desciption of philosophy: is it based on something you have read or did you just make it up? What exactly do you mean by "science" and why do you say the philosophy is a science and as opposed to what? I have never heard this suggested before. Do you mean all philosophy or just some philosophy "studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence". What do you mean by "the nature of existence" and what do you mean by the "aspects" of it; can you give some examples of fundamental and non-fundamental aspects? It is stange to give philosophy a motive ("in order to provide man with a comprehensive view of life"), because we normally ascribe motives to sentient beings not jubjects (historians have motives not history). Is this perhaps a metaphor and you really mean that philosphers (not philosphy) have this motive? If a subject could be said to have a motive, what makes you say that this is the motive of philosophy. Can you cite some texts you have in mind to illustrate this motive? It would be easy to name a number of texts normally considered works of philosophy which it would be challenging to demonstrate were studies of "the nature of existence" or asepects therof and even harder to show they are motivated by a "desire to provide man with a comprehensive view of life". Would you say such texts were not "really" works of philosophy? Do all subjects have a "motive"? How do you decide what the motive of a subject is? Suppose I said that philosophy had some other motive; how would we decide which was the true motive? I am genuinly puzzled where you get this whole idea from. Have you studied philosophy? Can you give some examples of texts have read? You assert this definition without any citations or arguments in support. Do you think it would be a good idea to provide one or the other?--Philogo 22:51, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

If you check it out you will see that the definition advocated by Karbinski is taken more or less intact from the "Objectivism" page and his edit history is largely there. It looks like a POV edit to me. There are two separate issues here (i) the use of consensus which is the only way to reach an agreement and the normal state of affairs on Wikipedia. (ii) the Karbinski request for a reference which is odd. Very few pages have citations for their opening description, and interestingly Karbinski provides no citations for his own suggestion. There are multiple definitions available in citable sources. That means we either (by consensus) reach an agreement on a summary statement which includes different points of view, or we cite multiple alternatives. We have achieved the former. Karbinski has to engage with the argument and not edit the article direct. --Snowded (talk) 06:41, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Karbinski wants references. They should be easy to find and provide. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:48, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, and we already have them: see Talk:Philosophy/Quotations, esp. Quinton, Grayling, Glymour, Teichmann & Evans, and Warburton. 271828182 (talk) 16:47, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Bold words, chalk full of absolutism, and yet you aim to keep what you've seen from the eyes of the wikipedia user reading the Philosophy article. You know its articles that must be verifiable via reliable sources and that discussion pages are full of nothing but 'talk'. Information hidden in talk pages will only be seen by a small number of editors, thats why its the articles that need to show the sources, and not the talk pages. Karbinski (talk) 20:36, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps the consensus reached here on the lede sentence is OR and POV, or perhaps its verifiable. Karbinski (talk) 20:36, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Until you engage with the arguments you have little credibility in this constant assertion. To make it simple for you:
- how do you account for the fact that many of the subject definition articles start off with a summary phrase not a cited quotation (including the one you are most active in)? Not all sentences in the Wikipedia have citations
- how can one cite when the definitions available are not agreed and in some cases contradict each other. In these cases Wikipedia requires us to create a NPOV which is what the editrs have done here
- to demonstrate that you are not a hypocrite please provide a citation for you suggested opening (referencing objectivism does not count as that is a distinct and minority theory).
Oh and as a PS, please try and avoid throwing out accusations such a "chalk full of absolutism", for someone who has asserted that Philosophy is a science when all major universities locate in the humanities, and who thinks philosophy should be defined in terms of providing a comprehensive view on life (something more associated with religion and cults), this is a bit rich. --Snowded (talk) 21:04, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

(Note to other editors) - I have placed a 3RR warning on Karbinski's talk page. If this continues then I will report on the admin page to get someone involved who can resolve this. --Snowded (talk) 21:17, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

You were right to do so.KD Tries Again (talk) 23:28, 12 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Rand, Plagiarism and POV editing

Well, well, brief research reveals that "Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence. The task of philosophy is to provide man with a comprehensive view of life" is a quotation from Ayn Rand. It appears to come from her book The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, but I don't have the original to hand (okay, I now have two independent citations for the quote, both to the same page of that book, p107). Obviously, this is consistent with the responsible editor's involvement with the Objectivism article. In simple terms, then, it's plagiarised. It also reflects very badly on the editor's motives in accusing other editors of concealing citations from readers. Finally, the chances of achieving a stable lede to the Wiki philosophy article by adopting the view of one highly controversial philosopher can be estimated as less than zero. I had been assuming good faith in Karbinski's contribution, until I discovered that he is smuggling a very specific and narrow POV into the article.KD Tries Again (talk) 23:42, 12 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Yep! The ability to track down an editor's contributions in Wikipedia is very useful .... --Snowded (talk) 23:58, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
I admit, that clue was crucial!KD Tries Again (talk) 23:59, 12 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
Plagiarism is a rather strong accusation, but certainly the source should have been identified. Whatever one thinks of Ayn Rand, she is hardly a centrist in the history of philosophy. I'm not sure I'd agree that Phil. has a "task" set before it. I do remain unconvinced that the first sentence in the lede must be sourceable as it must balance so many competing views. It seems to me that not sourcing it is the norm on WP, so I find the repeated insertion of a fact tag on a sentence so bland as to be barely disputable somewhat antagonistic. But, the fact that we're all tried doesn't mean that a new editor doesn't get a fair chance; by the same token, he should respect the hard-won consensus.
Will no-one edit the body of this beast? The whole article reads like an outline of an essay, not an actual article. JJL (talk) 02:30, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Strong accusation, yes, but the editor in question had just declaimed: "Information hidden in talk pages will only be seen by a small number of editors, thats why its the articles that need to show the sources, and not the talk pages." Meanwhile, quite consciously, presenting a barely altered quotation from Ayn Rand with no quotes or citation at all; against Wiki policy, of course [[2]]. At the same time, good editors here had found it necessary to warn the same editor about edit warring. I entirely agree, of course, that not providing cites for a lede, agreed by consensus, is absolutely the norm - and desirable. But we mustn't have an actual quotation from a philosopher, unsourced, smuggled in as the lede.KD Tries Again (talk) 04:26, 13 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
Clear(and scary) additional evidence of a political/POV agenda to be found here, advertised on his user page. --Snowded (talk) 05:00, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Too true, I quote:

We, and our government, to sustain and improve our way of life have to live up to the responsibility implied by our rights: the responsibility to not initiate force against our fellow man.

Chad Karbinski, The American Chronicle, January 24th 2006 [emphasis addedd]

Let us take our enemies chance to nuke New York City away from them forever. Let us destroy our enemies now. All it takes is for America to act fully in its own interests. That means we the people must not only act in our own selfish interest, but understand that it is the morally right thing to do.

Chad Karbinski, The American Chronicle, March 4th 2006 [emphasis added]

Confused? I think he is.--Philogo 21:06, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

move proposal to define objectivism as randism

For those interested in the sort of political play we saw above, you may like to look at the move proposal that is being made here --Snowded TALK 20:43, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

sourcing the lede

I have gone ahead and buttressed the opening two sentences with verifiable references. I gently disagree with JJL, as verification is a cornerstone policy on Wikipedia. I have chosen just the references closest to the sentences we ended up with -- these references are not "sources" so much as they verify that the consensus that has emerged here after lengthy discussion does also reflect expert opinion. And it seems, in my experience as an editor at least, that sourcing is one of the few lasting deterrents to drive-by editing, which, as our recent Randroid attack shows, is a very real problem. 271828182 (talk) 02:46, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Not sure it's necessary for the article, but it's certainly very constructive in the circumstances.KD Tries Again (talk) 04:29, 13 July 2008 (UTC)LD Tries Again

Yes. Good show.

It is interesting to compare the references with the sentence they reference. There are eight items in the sentence. Of the eight, they are referenced as follows:

  • existence -- in two references to "existence", one to "reality"
  • knowledge -- in all three references
  • truth -- in one reference
  • mind -- in one reference

These four are clearly referenced

As for the other four.

  • justice -- not referenced, but one reference mentions "morality" and another "ethics"
  • beauty -- not referenced, but one reference mentions "value"
  • validity -- not referenced, but two references mention "reason"
  • language -- not referenced, but one reference mentions "meaning"

Rick Norwood (talk) 13:55, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Just below the ToC are seven "branches of philosophy". I've put them in an order that roughly corresponds to the list we've agreed upon, as follows:

  • metaphysics (existence)
  • epistemology (knowledge and truth)
  • ethics and political philosophy (justice)
  • esthetics (beauty)
  • logic (validity)
  • philosophy of mind (mind)

There isn't anything on the list to correspond to "language". Should there be? Rick Norwood (talk) 14:05, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Logic and Philosophy of Language--Philogo 20:46, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Rick: re the four "unrefenced": justice, beauty, validity, language. Remember this is our list of examples of matters that give rise to phil probs. It is not particularly suprising that references to books that atemt to outline pohilosphy might pick other examples. Eg there are lots of matters that give rise to phil probs that Ethics addresses, we mention Justice, Graying (more general "values" akin to our thowrn out "Value judgements". It would be straight forward to cite books on Ethics that mention that Justice eg gives rise to phil probs. We could also cite famous phil texts which deal with one or the other. For Justice I would cite Plato, The Republic:- the whole book is about Justice. If fact I think I could find a dialog by Plato on just as about all the matters that we mention but that might be a bit repeticious and seem like we are pushing Plato. If you would like to be master of ceromonies choose and choose the cites to post I would be happy to leave here citations for each matter we mention with a quote from the text as well if need be.--Philogo 22:46, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

My comment above was a complement, not a complaint. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:32, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I did not take anything as a camplaint Rick. I was just offering to leave here citations (refs to texst) for each matter we mention (in the first senence with a quote from the text as well if need be, so you/others might choose the cites to post as needful. Se below under Jsutce and Langauge.


Justice TEXTS

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (revised edition, Oxford: OUP, 1999). John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism in On Liberty and Other Essays ed. John Gray (Oxford: OUP, 1991). Peter Singer ed., A Companion to Ethics (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), Part IV. Plato, Republic trans. Robin Waterfield (Oxford: OUP, 1994). Robert E. Goodin & Philip Pettit eds, Contemporary Political Philosophy: An anthology (2nd edition, Malden Mass.: Blackwell, 2006), Part III. [references listed under Justice--Philogo 23:19, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Justice QUOTES

"The main question to be anwered in The Rupublic is: What does justice mean and how can it be realized in Human Society".

FM Cornford in Plato The Republic, trans Cornford, Oxford at the Clarenodon Press, 1945 page 1.

You must not be content merely to prove that justice is superior to injustice, but explain how one is good, the other is evil, in virtue of the intrisic effect each has on its possessor, whether gods or men see it or not.

Plato The Republic, trans Cornford, Oxford at the Clarenodon Press, 1945, Chapter V, page 52.


It would seem the 'and language' part of the lede sentence is Original Research Karbinski (talk) 16:15, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

read and engage with arguments if you want to be take seriously and not labelled a Troll --Snowded (talk) 17:19, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Argument against Original Research is already articulated. As for evidence that it (the 'and language' part) is OR: after being challenged for verification, it remains unverified. This is wikipedia, I don't need to defend the position that OR is bad. As for establishing that it (the 'and language' part) is OR - its pretty straight forward: if its not - prove it by verifying it via reliable sources. Karbinski (talk) 17:41, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

The Grayling reference includes "meaning", which is a clear reference to the philosophy of language. Did you think I hadn't chosen the sources carefully? 271828182 (talk) 18:25, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Verifying this particular content is important due to its disputable nature. I have made my case for this already:

The excrutiating ordeal you have gone through to reach that consensus [on the lede sentence] means its not undisputable ipso facto.

Karbinski (talk) 17:41, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

still not engaging, just asserting .... --Snowded (talk) 17:44, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Have I misunderstood, or are we being asked to support the contention that philosophy deals with problems about language? If so, the fifty or so references in the Wiki Philosophy of Language article is a good place anyone might start.[[3]] KD Tries Again (talk) 17:51, 14 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

I'm struggling to see what the current dispute is about after my enforced spell in the slammer. Karbinski argues for "Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence in order to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. Major branches of Philosophy include Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom""

I prefer a return to the main four branches. Deleting the 'reasoned argument' part is not supported by the sources, of which there are plenty. Philosophy would be a science in the original meaning of 'science' (scientia) but the modern meaning, while not entirely different, has connotations that it would be best to avoid. On whether the philosophy of language belongs in the main branches, that is debateable. My view, given the dominance of the 'Old Logic' (the Categories (Aristotle) and On Interpretation) and of the importance of those two to the Metaphysics (Aristotle) in the Scholastic tradition, I would say it does belong. Peter Damian (talk) 17:59, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I have no strong view as to whether philosophy of language needs to be in the lede. But the suggestion that it constitutes OR defies common senseKD Tries Again (talk) 18:06, 14 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again.

Peter, welcome back! As to the above its not a dispute. We have one editor who tried to impose an Objectivist definition on the whole page and has still not owned up to that. He is now lobbing in comments like the above and refusing to answer any arguments placed, just making assertions with some out of context use of wiki-links. Have a look back over it, and check out the guys referenced articles on the need to nuke Iran and you will see the quality of his argument. He doesn't take too kindly to comments on his talk page either, snipping fast. We have a neo-Troll, possibly a Troll or at least a POV pusher and should probably not feed him. I don;t think we will see much of common sense. Mind you I have now placed Objectivism on my watch list rather like the pseudo-science NLP (one of your other favourites) just to check out what is going over there. --Snowded (talk) 18:09, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Well I would try not to be influenced by what he says elsewhere, however strange that may be, but address the arguments or reasons he is giving here. But as I can't see any coherent ones, I would just ignore it. Fine work on the introduction, I must say. As for myself, they didn't notice I had two accounts, even though I mentioned it on my user page, and only deleted User:Hinnibilis. But I think my days are pretty much numbered here. All the best. Peter Damian (talk) 20:32, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

The inclusion of 'language' is not in debate as the recent concensus includes it. The only thing that remains for the lede sentence is to provide a source for the 'and language' part. I visited the Philosophy of Language article, and it seems to me a wiki-link for 'language' in the lede sentence would be even stronger than a reference (I for one would have benifited). As I've already asserted: Only a small number of editors will ever read the discussion pages - the existence of the Philosophy of Language article or of a reliable source should not be hidden from the general users. Karbinski (talk) 18:23, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

But hiding the fact that you are quoting Ayn Rand is fine?
Immediately above you challeneged the "and language" part as OR. That's not the same as saying a source would be beneficial to general users.

KD Tries Again (talk) 18:38, 14 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

My suggestion for the opening paragraph is not relevant here as even I am not putting it on the table (tiresomely refers to previous discussion). However, since it has created so much agnst - I made a good faith, perhaps bold, edit in the middle of a long concensus building process, and consequently I deferred to that concensus. It ends there - to take up the hypothetical is a waste of time, either I would have supported my contribution with NPOV reliable sources, or it would have died. For the sake of argument, lets assume supporting it is *impossible* and it would have died. =D Karbinski (talk) 20:40, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

The inclusion of 'language' is not in debate as the recent concensus includes it. The only thing that remains for the lede sentence is to provide a source for the 'and language' part. I visited the Philosophy of Language article, and it seems to me a wiki-link for 'language' in the lede sentence would be even stronger than a reference (I for one would have benifited). As I've already asserted: Only a small number of editors will ever read the discussion pages - the existence of the Philosophy of Language article or of a reliable source should not be hidden from the general users.

I challenged it as OR and recieved my answer - its not. However, I'm one of that small number of editors visiting the discussion page Karbinski (talk) 20:50, 14 July 2008 (UTC) Out of interest, Karbinski, would you tell us some of the philosophy books you have read and why you are intersted in this particular article? You appear to be strangeley uninformed, no offence meant. Also, out of interst, you say

"Let us destroy our enemies now. All it takes is for America to act fully in its own interests. That means we the people must not only act in our own selfish interest, but understand that it is the morally right thing to do."

Do you think ALL countries should act fully in their own interests and people in their own selfish interest becasue it is the morally right thing to do or only the USA and its citizens? In particualr should Belgium and its citizens so act, and if not why not? Philogo 22:30, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Language: texts

Larson, R., and G. Segal. 1995. Knowledge of Meaning: an Introduction to Semantic Theory. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. A thorough introduction to philosophy of language for both philosophy and linguistics students.

Platts, M. 1997. Ways of Meaning: an Introduction to Philosophy of Language. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. An excellent exposition of the Davidsonian approach to meaning.

Neale, S. 1990. Descriptions. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. A clear defence & elaboration of Russell's theory of descriptions, as updated by Kripke and Evans.

Blackburn, S. 1984. Spreading the Word: Groundings in the Philosophy of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Readable, if opinionated, treatment of the central areas of philosophy of language, with large amounts of metaphysics thrown in for free.

Lycan, W. 1999. Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction. London: Routledge. Nomen est omen. Covers competently main topics.

McCulloch, G. 1989. The Game of the Name: Introducing Logic, Language and Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press. A vigorous introduction to issues in the theory of reference.

Taylor, K. 1998. Truth and Meaning. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford Blackwell. Contains among other things an exposition of intensional semantics.

Anthologies Hale, B. and C. Wright, eds. 1997. A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford: Blackwell. Contains essays by leading philosophers of language on key topics of this paper.

Ludlow, Peter, ed. 1997. Readings in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Martinich, A. P. ed. 1996. The Philosophy of Language. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Contains most of the classic papers.

Harnish, R. M. ed. 1993. Basic Topics in the Philosophy of Language. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. An alternative source for many of the same papers, together with a useful abridgement of Kaplan's classic, Demonstratives.

Hawthorne, J. and D. Zimmermann. 2004. Language and Philosophical Linguistics. Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 17. Atascadero, Calif.: Ridgeview.

Moore, A. W. ed. 1993. Meaning & Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Idiosyncratic selection of important papers.

Evans, G., and J. McDowell, eds. 1976. Truth & Meaning: Essays in Semantics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. State of the art papers in semantics & philosophy of language, c. 1976, including important papers by Davidson, Dummett, Evans, & Kripke.

Salmon, N., and S. Soames, eds. 1988. Propositions & Attitudes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Despite its title, a selection of papers on direct reference theories.

Yourgrau, P. ed. 1990. Demonstratives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Not what its title might suggest, but it does include important papers by Perry, Kaplan, Evans, & Anscombe.

Lepore, E. ed. 1986. Truth & Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson. Oxford: Blackwell.

Tomberlin, J. ed. 1993. Language and Logic. Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 7. Atascadero, Calif.: Ridgeview.

—. 1994. Logic and Language. Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 8. Atascadero, Calif.: Ridgeview.

—. 2002. Language and Mind. Philosophical Perspectives, vol. 16. Atascadero, Calif.: Ridgeview.

Katz, J. J. ed. 1985. The Philosophy of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Key Works Translations from the Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, edited by Peter Geach and Max Black, (3rd ed., Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980). Many of the key papers have now been collected in The Frege Reader, edited by M. Beaney, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997).

Philosophical Investigations, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1968; 3rd ed, 1972). Pt. 1, the first 135 odd sections of this work emphasise Wittgenstein's gnomic insistence on the role of use in understanding meaning.

Austin, J. L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Austin's original statement of speech-act theory which has been influential in both areas of linguistics and philosophy.

Davidson, D. 1984. Inquiries into Truth & Interpretation. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Contains almost all of Davidson's important papers in the philosophy of language.

Chomsky, N. 1985. Knowledge of Language: its Nature, Origins, and Use. New York: Praeger. A good introduction to his theories for philosophers.

Dummett, M. 1993. The Seas of Language. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Includes his two papers on theory of meaning, together with his valedictory lecture on anti-realism.

Evans, G. 1982. Varieties of Reference, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Challenging investigation of singular thought and reference.

Grice, H. P. 1989. Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Includes, among other things, 'Meaning' and his William James lectures which outline the theory of conversational implicature.

Kripke, S. 1980, Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press. Kripke's influential attack on Description Theories of Names.

Quine, W. V. 1960. Word & Object. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. Ch.2 is the original statement of Quine's views on radical translation.

Wilson, D., and D. Sperber. 1995. Relevance: Communication and Cognition. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell. An influential theory of communication by linguists but with philosophical implications. BACK TO TOP

To be clear, I didn't/don't know anything about the Philosophy of Language, so I won't be reporting on it from any source. If it is so easy to source it, then do so - this will confer upon the lede sentence the greatest degree of longterm protection you can grant it within the Wikipedia community. Karbinski (talk) 22:50, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
What books on philosphy have you read, Karbinski. Do you think your enemies should attack you now in their own self-interest because it is their moral duty to do so? --Philogo 22:55, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Assume I've read zero books on philosophy and know that I have no interest in your personal philosophical views (no intended offense). I'm using this forum, the discussion page of the Philosophy article, to try and improve the article. Karbinski (talk) 23:18, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I do not want to assume anything, I am curious to know what books on philosophy you have read; please do not be shy.--Philogo 23:37, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm not concerned with listing or counting what philosophy books I've read, if _you_ are concerned with what _I_ have read, you'll have to assume something, I suggest zero - that number enables the greatest number of assumptions one might like to make about me. Karbinski (talk) 16:57, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I am not concerned I am curious. It seems odd for a young man to publically entreet his enemies to kill him if in their own

self-interest it been their moral duty so to do. Therefore I am curious whether your reading habits have engendered your suicidal/homicidal tendency. I am also curious why you are not shy to expose your self in this way on American Chronicle but you go as coy as a little girl when we ask you what you have read. There is nothing wrong in not having read any books on philosophy, in fact I wold be relieved to hear that they are not responsible for your confused mental state. Have you perhaps been exposed to a cult, or other forms of brain-washing? There is nothing to be ashamed of if you have, but you may find it helpful to discuss your problems with your family and friends, or your local church if you are religious.

My apologies to the other editors for taking up this space, but I feel concerned about this young man.--Philogo 20:13, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Language: quotes

^ A.C. Grayling, Philosophy 1: A Guide through the Subject (Oxford UP, 1998), p. 5: "Analytic philosophy is not so much a school of thought as a style or method. It is a style of philosophizing which seeks to be rigorous and careful, which at times makes use of ideas and techniques from logic, and which is aware of what is happening in science. It is, in particular, alert to linguistic considerations, not because of an interest in language for its own sake, but because it is through language that we grasp the concepts we use, and it is by means of language that we express our beliefs and assumptions. One of the principal methods of analytic philosophy is analysis of the concepts we employ in thinking about ourselves and the world."

"Philosophy of Language is organised around general questions of language and meaning. The nature of language has long been an obsession of philosophers, more recently it has also become the focus of empirical investigation in linguistics. The subject is concerned both with the most general and abstract aspects of language, meaning and knowledge of both and with more specific problems that arise in understanding particular aspects of natural languages." THE LONDON PHILOSOPHY STUDY GUIDE based on based on The Philosophy Study Guide 1993-4 of UCL and The Philosophy Study Guide, 1994, 1997 and 2000 of the University of London.

Sourced Suggestion for Lede

I'm not putting it on the table to replace the current lede sentence. Properly sourced: Philosophy is the science that studies the fundamental aspects of the nature of existence in order to provide man with a comprehensive view of life. -ref- “Philosophical Detection,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, p.16 -/ref- Major branches of Philosophy include Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics. The word philosophy is of Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning "love of knowledge", "love of wisdom".[1][2][3] Karbinski (talk) 16:31, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

A quote direct from Ayn Rand. We should probably assume you have read one book then, not zero as you suggest above. I suppose that we should be grateful that you are now acknowledging your sources and not proposing any change to the lead. --Snowded (talk) 17:29, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
It's all very well to say it's in the past and it's all hypothetical, but having been caught smuggling language from your own preferred 'philosophy' into the article, without citation, please don't pretend you are engaged in a good faith attempt to ensure the article is well-sourced. Assuming good faith is one thing, but the rest of us aren't stupid.KD Tries Again (talk) 19:08, 15 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
The quote is palpable nonsense.--Philogo 20:00, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Glad you're not putting this on the table, because it flunks basic Wikipedia policy: "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers." All that, Ayn Rand ain't. Contrast the current sources. 271828182 (talk) 00:55, 16

July 2008 (UTC)

Corrrection: Any that, Ayn Rand ain't. Also quote is not attributed to Ayn Rand so far as I can see. After thought: the Ayn Rand group asked the Philsophy group to tell them if Ayn Rand is a philosopher. Naturally we hummed and hahed and in effect said depends on what you mean by philosopher. However if Ayn Rnad claims to be a philospher and her definition of philosophy is as per the quote we have our answer. The quote is not a definition or description of philosophy as currently, if ever, used, so she is claiming to be something other than a philsopher as the term is currently used, and she has provided her own answer, i.e, "no". --Philogo 13:02, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Never argue with a follower of Ann Rand. Or L. Ron Hubbard. It's a waste of time. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Rick, I thought it was Jehovah's witnesses you had to avoid. --Philogo 19:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
You can't avoid them but you can steal their bicycles. Rick Norwood (talk) 17:44, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Ongoing Discussion

I like the article but we need to eradicate the phrase "gives rise to" from academia etc. It's sounds like somebody's viagra results. A better phrase is just "causes" or "is associated with." (talk) 23:33, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Why add a new section in the middle of the talk page? "gives rise to" does not have the same meaning as the other two phrases and I doubt many people share your associative meaning. --Snowded TALK 23:38, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Meanwhile, the rest of the article

This article is gradually improving, in my view (I'm not saying it's very good, however). After the 5,000 edits spent on the introduction, how about a hard look at the rest? I propose cutting down the size by reducing all the sections to one or two paragraphs at the most, and moving the more detailed material, if quality is sufficiently good, to the appropriate articles. For example, the section on Analytic philosophy is far too long, and there is material there which could usefully be incorporated into the Analytic philosophy article, which has always need some care and attention.

Also, dear Continental philosophers, I rewrote the Existence precedes essence article. I simply cut and pasted material that was already there and put a thread around it - how does it stand? (Don't be rude to me if it is no good, I don't claim to be an expert, or even competent). Yours, Peter. Peter Damian (talk) 18:30, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

The Analytic section had been hugely improved, but I don't argue with general pruning. When I have time, I'll take a look at Phenomenology, Existentialism and Pragmatism.KD Tries Again (talk) 20:57, 16 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
It may need pruning but it is not too long. I think it needs to be more interesting in a way that does not compete with the articles. There will be people who click on the article to see what Philsophy is all about and if its just like a switch-board directing to other articles it will not inspire much interest. I suggest an Introduction after the lede, setting out a few of the phil probs the lede alludes to so that it follows naturally from the lede. The brief discussion of the problem could mention the relevant branch, so the list of braches would then follow naturally. Any chance of discussing this without getting too adversary about it? I found the adversary manner we dealt with the lede a wee but wearing.--Philogo 22:18, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I think its improved but its a bit either/or (analytic v continental) and I am not sure of the science link to analytical philosophy. Naturalising approaches to epistemology often link back to pragmatism and that strand both predates and survives logical positivism. Maybe a para on that would provide balance? --Snowded (talk) 00:01, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
To be clear, when I said It may need pruning but it is not too long. I think it needs to be more interesting... I meant the article as a whole, not the bit on analytic phil. Do you oppose/support my suggested Introduction after the lede, setting out a few of the phil probs ...?--Philogo 19:53, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
This will get nowhere if "undiscussed edits" is adequate cause for reversion. If every change must be approved here first...well, see the archives for how that went with the lede. The History-->Western Phil. change in particular seemed reasonable, in line with the rest of the article, and in keeping with the idea of non-Westerncentric POV.
That having been said, getting an outline for the article would be helpful. I know I'm reluctant to make non-trivial changes for exactly the reason I have indicated above--they're apt to be wholesale reverted on the grounds that nine months hasn't been invested in discussing them here first. JJL (talk) 23:22, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I reinstated the changes on History oh Philosophy before I spotted JJL's point above. As far as I can see the edit improves the accuracy. The old history section was only about the west (and to a degree the Anglo-Saxon perspective on said history). Happy to discuss that, but editors should be able to improve accuracy, if controversial then lets open up discussion here. However at the moment it looks like three editors at least think the change is reasonable. --Snowded (talk) 23:30, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
The edit has not been thought through, and solves one problem (history western orientated) oly to create others, eg ancient philosophy is western orianted, no indian, chinese etc. philosphy is ancient. In addition previus editors had written the article uhder the exisitng headings. That is why I reverted the edit and supported Snowed's invitation to the editor to open disussion here. I am inlcined to revert the edit again until we have agreed approriate history headings.--Philogo 09:13, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Division of history section

An editor considers that the history section should be ranamed "Western Philsophy" and brought with all other sections under a new section heading "History". I beleive this creates new problems eg ancient philosophy is western orianted, no indian, chinese etc. philosphy is ancient. I propose we we agree appropriate history headings here first, and revert the edit pro tem to preserve the status quo. --Philogo 09:13, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

What reasons (other than tradition) do we have for diving the history section into Western, Eastern and Africa with first alone divided by time periods Ancient to Modern. Why should we not have philosophy from anywhere divided by time period, so that philosophy from India and Arabia appears udner the same time period as philosophy from Greece, Japan, USA, Australia?--Philogo 09:20, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

One problem you are going to run into with Indian philosophy is the difficulty of dating. Where in the West we have many commentaries on philosophers, which help date their contribution, in Indian philosophy the tradition was to insert the commentary into the original document, as if it were part of the original. This led to very, very long "books" written by a large numbers of authors who lived many years apart. These "books" mix myth, religion, philosophy, and superstition freely, and it is difficult or impossible to sort out which was added when, since the climate of India has not permitted the preservation of many ancient manuscripts -- all we have are relatively recent copies. Thus the difficulty in presenting Indian philosophy chronologically, the way we do modern philosophy.

I've done a little research on the question of priority in Indian mathematics, where claims are made that date a discovery variously to either 4000 BCE or 1200 CE! But I'm limited to translations into English. The section on Eastern philosophy really needs to be written by a scholar who reads the languages concerned. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:57, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Is that true also of Chinese philosophy and African philosophy? BTW regarding elswhere your questions re dates for Indian contributions, to Maths eg. (I recall). Sir Thomas L Heath in Euclid, the Thirteen Books of the Elemants, Vol 1: Dover New York 1956 page 160 draws our attentionto Albert Burk's Zetschrift der deuthshen morgenlansishen Gesellschaft (LV 1901, pp 243-591 and elwhere) translating and writing about Das Apatabba Sulba-Sultra. Heath quotes G Thilbaut in The Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, XLIV, 1875 part 1. commenting on Burk's works opining on the dates and significance of Das Apatabba Sulba-Sultra, and

"roundly maintains, not only that the Pythagoras' Theorem was known and proved in all its generality by the Indians long before the date of Pythagoras (about 580-500 b.c. ), but that they had discovered the irrational; ; and further that, so far from Indian geomerty being indebted to to the Greek, the much-travelled Pythagoras probably obtained his theory from India (loc. cit, LB, p 575 note)"

Heath, loc. cit.--Philogo 22:30, 20 July 2008 (UTC)


"the Vedas. The texts date from about the 15th to the 5th century BC " .."The Sulbasutras are appendices to the Vedas which give rules for constructing altars.".."All that is known of Vedic mathematics is contained in the Sulbasutras.".."The most important of these documents are the Baudhayana Sulbasutra written about 800 BC and the Apastamba Sulbasutra written about 600 BC. Historians of mathematics have also studied and written about other Sulbasutras of lesser importance such as the Manava Sulbasutra written about 750 BC and the Katyayana Sulbasutra written about 200 BC. "The first result which was clearly known to the authors is Pythagoras's theorem. The Baudhayana Sulbasutra gives only a special case of the theorem explicitly:-

The rope which is stretched across the diagonal of a square produces an area double the size of the original square.

The Katyayana Sulbasutra however, gives a more general version:-

The rope which is stretched along the length of the diagonal of a rectangle produces an area which the vertical and horizontal sides make together. "--Philogo 12:20, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

"Baudhayana, about 800 BC - about 740 BC, Baudhayana was the author of one of the earliest Sulbasutras: documents containing some of the earliest Indian mathematics."--Philogo 12:22, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

also see --Philogo 12:25, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Philogo, I think its a bit rich that you choose to correct other people's valid formatting (my use of indent) when you hardly ever follow convention. Please leave other people's edits alone unless there is an obvious mistake. On the subject in hand, while there are problems in the current form, they are less than the obvious western bias of its processor. If necessary put up a "this section needs work" in the sub-sections on Indian Philosophy etc as a holding operation. --Snowded (talk) 23:01, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Snowed: I am afraid I don't not quite know what you speak of, correct other people indents? Who when how? I have not said that there are problems in the Indian philsophoy section; some other editor perhaps? My comments and question are top of this section.--Philogo 00:18, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
See this diff --Snowded (talk) 00:32, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Does not ring a bell, not sure what it means. What about the comments and question are top of this section?--Philogo 11:32, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Well look at it :-) you directly edited one of my comments. On the general issue, the problems raised on Indian/Chinese etc are as I say) better handled by marking those sections as needing further work rather than reversion to a text which is too western orientated --Snowded (talk) 11:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I did look and as I said it does not ring a bell, not sure what it means. You miss my point at head of section. I raised not question re the Indian/Chinese sections. The problem is that follwing the edit Ancient philosophy etc are eclusive oart of Western Philosophy don't you see? Also I asked What reasons (other than tradition) do we have for diving the history section into Western, Eastern and Africa with first alone divided by time periods Ancient to Modern. Why should we not have philosophy from anywhere divided by time period, so that philosophy from India and Arabia appears udner the same time period as philosophy from Greece, Japan, USA, Australia?. Rick says we could not put philosophy from India and Arabia on a time sacle because the rel;evant dates are not available. Do you agree?--Philogo 12:01, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

(indent) Two issues (i) I made the comment that you had decided to reformat one of my comments, I gave you the diff, you have looked at it how could you not see it? Yes I saw it--Philogo 23:09, 21 July 2008 (UTC) (ii) Too the more substantial issue. The current history section is all Western hence my agreement with the indent. Making one history section which is more balanced is one solution, but at the moment given the current text the labels by geography seems more accurate. --Snowded (talk) 12:49, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

It's odd, isn't it, that after section 2., which deals with Western, Eastern, Chinese, etc. "history" of philosophy, the following sections deal only with detail from the western tradition. A more logical organization of the current content would be:
2. Western Philosophy
2.1 History (then the subsections we now have)
2.2 Main Doctrines
2.3 Applied Philosophy
3. Eastern Philosophy (with subsections)
4. African Philosophy

The current organization would be fine if we had any doctrines from e.g. African philosophy being discussed, but we don't (and let me emphasize it would be a hell of a mess if we started trying to force subtantive chunks of African and Chinese philosophy into what is essentially a history of western philosophical doctrines).KD Tries Again (talk) 15:58, 21 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

I like that structure and we could create stub sections? --Snowded (talk) 19:19, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Who could create the subsections for Africa and India? I certainly couldn't. Also, by "Africa" would be mean all of Africa, including Egypt, or only sub-Saharan Africa.

On Philogo's comment above. Briefly. I'm familiar with the material you cite. The argument in favor of Indian priority for the proof of the Theorem named after Pythagoras goes roughly like this. Indian mathematicians knew the theorem (so did Egyptian mathematicians long before the Indian mathematicians). Indian mathematicians were smart. Therefore they must have proved the theorem, even though no such proof survives! The argument that Pythagoras learned the theorem in India goes like this. Indian mathematicians knew the theorem. Pythagoras traveled widely. Therefore Pythagoras must have learned the theorem in India, even though no evidence of such a trip by Pythagoras survives! Sorry, but this does not meet my standards of evidence. The same argument is often used to support the claim that Jesus got all his ideas from Buddha.

The earliest proof of the so-called Pythagorean Theorem that actually exists today is Euclid's. We know that there were earlier proofs, but all we know for sure about them is that they no longer exist.

I suspect there are similar instances in philosophy. Rick Norwood (talk) 20:33, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes the sources mentioned say they knew the theorem but not (necessarily) the proof. I suppose they knew it empirically (by measurement) and so Euclid keeps the prize, since he showed the reason why. We might say that knowing a mathematical truth only empirically is only true opinion not knowledge.--Philogo 23:09, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Introduction and relation of Western Phil to other traditions

I just made an edit in 'good faith' as there was an obvious gap in the page, linking the various traditions.

"Despite philosophy's pretensions to objectivity and rationality, the 'history of philosophy' depends on who you ask. In France, the list of pivotal figures is very different from that in Germany, which is very different from that in Britain, which is very different from that in the United States. Each country, in fact, tends to favour 'its own' philosophers in a surprisingly insular way. But the worst divide in the history of philosophy is between 'East and West'. Most accounts in English will insist that philosophy, as the structured, rational discussion of great issues such as the origins of the universe, the difference between right and wrong, the nature of human existence started in what they call 'Ancient Greece'. Yet the historical record is clear, philosophy started in the East, and flourished in North Africa before eventually taking root in Western Europe. "

I did not give a reference, as I don't want to be accused of 'spamming' my own research, but I have plenty of research to back the calims up. They're pretty uncontroversial in my view anyway. Obviously this is not the palce to be anything else.

I think the text works well, and there is at present a gross bias towards a narrow 'anglo-american' view fo the subject. We should be conscious of that and working to avoid it.

Docmartincohen (talk) 13:17, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The language of the first two statements is controversial to say the least and words like "pretensions" are dubious. The structure of this section is also under discussion (see above). I think you have to provide citations for each sentence above and they can't be your own work. The one citation you provided in the edit justifies a reference to philosophical thinking outside of western Europe (as do other sources such as Blackburn, again see earlier discussions). Last time I saw Kant was listed as a major philosopher in every English source as were others from outside of England. However it does not support your last sentence as worded, and there is no support for the other statements. --Snowded (talk) 13:41, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

A small correction. A wikipedian can cite their own research as a source, provided it was published in a refereed journal. In fact, Wikipedia welcomes researchers who report on their own work, after it is published.

If the work is published in an edited journal, then no, you can't cite it. Also, the quality of the journal can matter. If you publish in Philosophy, that counts more than if you publish in the East Idaho State Journal of Philosophy.

In the case of Docmartincohen's edit, there are several statements that are clearly false, the most obvious being the exaggeration of ethnocentrism. I suspect that more Americans and Europeans know about Confucius than know about Kant, and the Tao Te Ching is a perennial best seller in the West, and widely quoted. "The word that can be spoken is not the true word. The way that can be traveled is not the true way." It's a tad ethnocentric to spell Kung Fu Tze as Confucius, but there are problems with any transliteration. In short, ethnocentrism exists, but not to the extent Docmartincohen claims. It sounds like he has an ax to grind. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:09, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I looked up the book Docmartincohen wrote and cites, and it got good reviews, but is a popular rather than a scholarly book, and so not appropriate for citation. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:34, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Per comments above, I am not suggesting we need more or less on African philosophy - just suggesting we move what we do have (and the same for the other sections). If everyone is in favor...well, perhaps someone who can do it without messing up should make the change!KD Tries Again (talk) 15:03, 22 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

'Philosophical Tales' is as scholarly as they get, published by an academic publisher which send texts out for peer review. So it is a great deal more reliable than most of what gets posted up on Wikipedia! Rick's version contains obvius mistakes, not just opinions.

"Until modern times, philosophy developed separately in different parts of the world."

Obvious nonsense. The links between Eastern and Western traditions are indisputable. As Rick's next sentence shows, there is no clear line to be drawn between the two. Equally, today philosophical debate depends heavilyo n the local context. Even the local college!

"Philosophy is traditionally divided into Western philosophy and Eastern philosophy, with the philosophers of North Africa and the Near East, such as Hypatia, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Omar Khayyam usually included as part of the Western tradition."

Again, this is nonsense. It makes the page look silly.

"Today, there is increasing interest in philosophy in areas that are not part of either the Eastern or Western mainstream."

What is this supposed to mean? It's empty talk for the sake of it...

Rick obciously thinks he 'owns this page' I can see why so few academics bother to join in editing here... I leave others to blank it - again, I don't see why editors are deleting my text rather than working with it. Such as the reintroduction of the gross error about the irreligious nature of Western Philosophy!

Docmartincohen (talk) 15:49, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

"You are not the first."--good advice anywhere on the Internet. JJL (talk) 16:32, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Unless you are a mind reader, please don't tell me what I "obviously think". Instead, let's focus on what I wrote. To dismiss what I wrote as "nonsense", "silly", and "empty talk" is not the same as offering evidence against it. However, I am happy to defer to those with greater expertise than myself. There were four points you disputed.

1) Philosophy is traditionally divided into Western Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy. 2) These two philosophical traditions were largely separate until relatively modern times, with little proven contact between the Mediterranean peoples and those of India, China, and Japan. 3) North African philosophers and Near Eastern philosophers, such as the three I named, were considered part of the Mediterranean world, and so are usually considered part of the Western tradition. 4) Today, there is increased interest in philosophers from other parts of the world, such as interest in Native American philosophy and Sub-Saharan African philosophy.

I would appreciate comments from experts. Rick Norwood (talk) 16:46, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

First up, Philosophical Tales is most certainly not a scholarly source, and if it was "peer reviewed" (who peer reviews books?), I'm a turnip: you can browse some of it on [Amazon] - it's trying to be funny (and why not? I have nothing against the book). Let's stick to straight textbooks, please. Rick doesn't own this page; nor are his points obviously wrong. Let's proceed with caution and real source. By the way, my restructuring suggestion is still on the table.KD Tries Again (talk) 18:32, 22 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

I support your restructuring suggestion. I also read some of "Philosophical Tales" on line, and enjoyed it. I may buy a copy. Rick Norwood (talk) 18:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I also support KD Tries again proposal for restructuring. In respect of the introduction Docmartincohen needs to provide citations to support his position. Overall I think Rick's criticism of his current text was sound. Rick's counter statements (which he has listed) may or may not be true, but their status is not relevant to the need for Docmartincohen to provide citations for his position. It is not the case that if Rick is wrong, Docmartincohen is right I am afraid. Until s/he provides citations to support the text I am not going to take the various accusations of ownership etc. seriously. The book quoted can be used, but it does not support the text. The essence of Wikipedia is citation.
I suggest we try and find a NPOV introduction as soon as we have agreed on the stucture. So far I think KD Tries again's proposal has not been opposed so can we do that? --Snowded (talk) 20:07, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Let's try to make a constructive start. First of all, I think we all agree the page is lacking a pragraph or two here 'knitting' the varieties of philosophy together.

My version, I would have said, was not controversial, but there you are.. different views on that. Incidentally, the Philosophical Tales is a history of 'both' Western and Eastern philosophy and draws comparisons. In the process of publication, it received reports from at least 5history of Philosophy 'experts'...

Secondly, I think we agree it needs to address the issue of how separate and 'real' the various schools are. Consider that Pythagoras (and hence Plato) and Spinoza, Hegel and so on all directly drew on the Eastern texts...

Philosophy has too many 'artificial 'boundaries', we should try to present the subject more holistically.

Docmartincohen (talk) 22:15, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Docmartincohen's proposal is very weak. Take for e.g. "the 'history of philosophy' depends on who you ask. In France, the list of pivotal figures is very different from that in Germany, which is very different from that in Britain, which is very different from that in the United States. Each country, in fact, tends to favour 'its own' philosophers in a surprisingly insular way". This is surely journalistic waffle thats sound convincing on first reading just because it is vague and waffly. Without knowing anything about it I can assert with equal plausibilty "the 'history of pyschology' depends on who you ask. In France, the list of pivotal figures is very different from that in Germany, which is very different from that in Britain, which is very different from that in the United States. Each country, in fact, tends to favour 'its own' psychologists in a surprisingly insular way". It SOUNDS true, even obvious, but on reflection in the case of philosophy, it does not bare scrutiny. It is not my experience that the pivotal figures recognised at university level is very different in UK and USA as a perusal of University courses would show. I would be interested to see if Docmartincohen can list some major universities in, say, the USA and Canada, Australia and Europe which do not recognise say Plato, Aristotle, Hume and Wittgenstein as pivotal figures. Or perhaps some enclopedias from these coutnreis which do not mention them. Is his assertion based on actaul resaerch? Where are the "lists of pivotal figures" to be found? If based on research I would like to see it cited and know how "very different" is measured.

Rick and I had a little chat about the idea that Pythagoras directly drew on [the] Eastern texts (see above). The idea has been around for some time, but apparently there is no evidence for e.g. that Indian mathematicians had a proof of e.g Pythagoras' theorem. --Philogo 22:56, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

In fact, the very notion of 'proof' differed between the two cultures; the Greeks had a much more formal understanding of it, while the Indians of the corresponding time were more satisfied by giving a typical case as example. Of course, every culture 'knew' these math. identities to be facts, but each required arguments of varying rigour. More generally, it's certainly my opinion that early phil. in each culture evolved largely separately, feeding on its own mythology and (proto-)sciences initially and quickly feeding on its own developing body of phil. literature.
It's always been an issue here that a Philosophy article in an English language encyclopedia is probably expected to be focused on Western philosophy, but that WP policy requires a more general POV. No one has ever come up with a good way to handle it. I don't think that a good, interesting encyclopedia article can be written on all of Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy, and other philosophies--those are fundamentally separate subjects requiring separate articles. Should this be a short dab page, a page on what phil. could in principle be, or a historical mish-mash of everything that has ever been done that is called phil.? I don't have the answer. JJL (talk) 23:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Several points, offered in constructive style - Rick, I over-reacted eariler, I apologise.

1. There is a huge gulf between various countries. I live in France - here the list of philosophers shared by the 'anglo-americans' and the frecnh includes only the Ancient Greeks in common, with perhaps a few Germans. The French have a parallel history of philosophy. Wittgenstein is NOT considered at all - and righly not. Descartes is given limited importance. The Spanish have their onw stance and key figures from Spain, the Russians have their own 'greats'... etc

2. There are problems about saying that the North African philosophers can be reclassifed as Greeks, just because everyone brackets them as such! Why should 'African philosophy' lost some its historical influence, just because we want tidy categories!

3. My suggestion was that there should be an overall definition of philosophy, noting the links between the traditions. There are many important ones to mention:

Pythagoras and the influence of Eastern mathematical theories. Coinfucius and Lao Tzu and influence of Chinese theorising on many matters Islam, and influence as 'guardian' of early texts...

Then we can split the traditions up more meaningfully. Docmartincohen (talk) 13:20, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Docmartincohen (talk) 13:20, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Apology accepted. Make love, not war.
If philosophy is really fragmented along national lines as badly as you suggest, it seems a shame. I've long thought that useful information tends to come together across national boundaries, while useless ideas tend to fragment. Compare evolution and creationism. If philosophy is really fragmenting that badly, it speaks ill for philosophy.
The reason for including North Africans and Near Easterners with Greeks and Italians is that the talked to each other. They were all part of the same dialog. Notice you misrepresent my case when you say "North African philosophers can be reclassified as Greeks." What I said was that North African philosophers read the Greeks, translated them into their own language, wrote commentaries on them, and then in the time of Avicina and Averoes helped spark the revival of European philosophy. The division of the world into Europe, Asia, and Africa is artificial. In ancient times, the countries grouped around what the Romans called "Our Sea" were much closer together than they are today. So, all part of Western philosophy, because they talked to one another. Many European scholars not only spoke Latin and Greek, but also Hebrew and Arabic.
Of the three examples you give, the relationship between the Pythagoreans and "Eastern" philosophy is the most controversial, unless by "Eastern" you mean Egyptian. The main reason to group India, China, Japan, and Southeast Asia philosophers is the spread of Buddhism. For your point about Islam, see above.

Rick Norwood (talk) 13:53, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

There are some controversial notions here, which do require further examination. Perhaps Descartes is currently out of favor in France, but it is surely not suggested that he has been of limited importance historically in French philosophy. Other than the Greeks, and I guess Kant and Hegel, just which philosophers are the French studying. When I spent time with working French philosophers back in the 1980s, they evinced interest in analytic philosophy, and certainly took note of figures like Quine.KD Tries Again (talk) 14:59, 23 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Structure first

Before we get too far into the discussion of the intro to history how about we set the structure. The following proposal from User:KD Tries Again seemed to have the agreement of anyone who commented on it. So here it is again, with a simple poll at the end of test agreement.

2. Western Philosophy
2.1 History (then the subsections we now have)
2.2 Main Doctrines
2.3 Applied Philosophy
3. Eastern Philosophy (with subsections)
4. African Philosophy

For the restructure


Comments Hmm. This implies that the main doctrines (and the applied philosophy) are exclusively part of Western philosophy does it not? The material we have would support that. Eg there seems little in the para on Indian philosophy that could be put under the main doctrines we discuss. IN fact it tell me sod all about Indian philosophy.--Philogo 00:24, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

No, the current wordings are 100% western, so as sub headings accurate. You would have similar ones (and some pass through) in the other traditions. It also makes clear the work that has to be done to expand the other sections --Snowded (talk) 00:27, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not impressed with the proposal, for the reasoning as explained above. Indeed, it seems to be going BACKWARDS. The Philosophy page needs a general unifying intoduction indicating the links and overlaps. Docmartincohen (talk) 13:24, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

What it implies is that everything in the current "Philosophical Doctrines" section is Western - which it is. Although that section appears to be a general summary of Doctrines, following on from the geographical sections, it is actually just a history of the doctrines of Western philosophy. Hence my proposal it be placed under Western philosophy. I emphasize that if anyone is capable of producing comparable, notable material on the doctrines of African or Chinese philosophy, then there should be "Main Doctrines" sections un der 3., 4.,... We just don't have any such material right now; maybe in the future.KD Tries Again (talk) 14:54, 23 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again.
The discussion above led me to take a look at French Wiki's Philosophy article. The structure is not dissimilar to the one I recommended. I have to say, the article hardly supports the contention that the French have only the Greeks and a couple of Germans in common with the analytic tradition; rather they appear to share the same tradition, with understandable extra weight given to some of the locals.KD Tries Again (talk) 15:04, 23 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

You can have a look (using the search insdie feature) at this fairly standard list - how many of these people never appear in Anglo-American sources? I can see about 50...

Ethno-centic attitudes are a big problem. No one should underestimate it... least of all here.More practically - yes, looking at the French page cited - am I missing the point? It joins all the traditions up rather nicely - plus a whole load we haven't even started to think about! Docmartincohen (talk) 17:07, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

A simple point: it's not our task to take a fresh, original look at the subject and sweep away prejudices. We are supposed to digest and summarize the existing published consensus.
As for the Brehier book, if it's not a rhetorical question: aside from the Greeks, how about Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Newton, Hume, Smith, Kant, Hamilton, Bentham, Mill(x2), Coleridge, Carlyle, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Kiekegaard, Emerson, Nietzsche, Husserl (and it stops about there)? Of course it has all the locals, from Condillac to Comte to Brunschvig. It's a French history (and the basic text is apparently from the 1930s) but the core is much the same. Who are they missing? Berkeley? William James? Sure, Frege, Wittgenstein - but it's true that analytic philosophy had no foothold in France in the 1930s. It's different now.KD Tries Again (talk) 20:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Docmartincohen says "The Philosophy page needs a general unifying intoduction indicating the links and overlaps." If the "links and overlaps" were sufficent to demonstrate "unity" then this would be a reasonable suggestion, but are they? Can Docmartincohen cite some texts that set out the "links and overlaps" and that argue that they demonsrate "unity"? If one said "The Religions of the World/Languages of the World etc page needs a general unifying intoduction indicating the links and overlaps." then the same comment would apply. It should not be our task here to suggest there is a unity without citations, with primary sources, to support it. --Philogo 13:19, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm... well, look, it seems we have 'elements' of consensus - the countries have their 'locals' as KD says, plus a 'core', to be identified... Then an introduction should indiciate the 'links and overlaps' as Philogo says, albeit not indicaiting that this is practicla or possible here. But I think it is! Its true that most o fhte books and most of the courses in the English language tradition ignore these links and overlaps, but the Wikipedia article article needs to either be titled 'Anglo-American views of Philosophy' or reflect a more global, cross-cultural interpreation of 'What Philosophy Is' than the usual sources...

But as to indicating how this should be done, I made a few suggetions already. There are uncontroversial links between certain 'Western' philosophers and both Africa and the the East.. the history of philosophy needs to travel between the continents. Secondly, the 'core is what I think we need to pick out for this page, and a lot of the names KD mentions don't appear in any of my standard texts on 'what philosophhy is', but would I'm sure in French ones. . rather than speak of 'Western Philosophy' as though it is an homogoenous entity, I think perhaps once we start dividing things up, we should divide 'Western' philosophy up too - Anglo-American, French, German etc.?

Docmartincohen (talk) 18:14, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I think that's going to be a tough sell. The average book about western philosophy as such - the subject of western philosophy - does treat it as a homogenous entity. It covers Plato, Descartes, Kant and Bertie Russell. There are of course specialist histories of German philosophy and French philosophy. Wiki already has separate articles for the philosophy of single countries. I get the impression you want to tackle philosophy itself in a different and novel way - and I am not saying you're wrong (or right) - but that's just not the project here. "reflect a more global, cross-cultural interpreation of 'What Philosophy Is' than the usual sources..." - but our task is precisely to reflect the usual sources. That seems to be hard enough.
Maybe you'd find it productive to work on the articles about German, French, etc. philosophy; there's no reason this article shouldn't link to them.KD Tries Again (talk) 20:28, 25 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
We have to work with the sources and as [User:KD Tries Again|KD Tries Again]] says there is scope on other pages. this history of Western Philosophy has more in common that it has geographical differences for the bulk of its history and current differences (which I think are exaggerated) can be handled in discussions elsewhere. Of course it is not homogenous, but it has coherence for this article which is after all a basic overview. We have a clear consensus for the restructure so I suggest we implement it. --Snowded (talk) 20:36, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I hope somebody who is confident of handling the formatting on an article of this length will be willing to make an attempt. It's not my strong point.KD Tries Again (talk) 20:41, 25 July 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
I suggest that if Docmartincohen writes an article on the "uncontroversial links between certain 'Western' philosophers and both Africa and the the East" which would be interesting reading providing it is has proper citations and referenced sources especially primary sources. In my experience these sort of links often turn out to be mere speculation, e.g. that Pythagoras learnt the proof of his famous theorm form India, (see above from Rick) or that Jesus lived and died in the East after the crucification. Therefore fun spec in the sundays (like "Stonehenge technology shows Martian influence"; "Aliens taught us language"; ... many experts agree) but not really scholarly stuff for an encycopaedia--Philogo 11:37, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

If he succeeds the we might have:

2. Western Philosophy
2.1 History (then the subsections we now have)
2.2 Main Doctrines
2.3 Applied Philosophy
3. Eastern Philosophy (with subsections)
4. African Philosophy
3 Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy

or similar. BUT NO OR!--Philogo 11:43, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

you could "write a new page on 'Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy'"

Thanks, but its not much of an offer is it! Of course someone can do that, and it would be a very interesting piece... Look, you want to get the page right, you don't (I presume) want to behave like 'frogs in the well' (to use a chinese saying), and I have offered some suggestions. I'm not forcing a differenet approach on you, and I'm not going to implement my own approach, as obviously there is no consensus for it. However, when you do this page I hope you will at least 'attempt' to address my concerns, to whit: the present division between Western and 'everyone else' is ethnocentric and historically misleading, and in addition, that the supposed summary of Western has an undue anglo-american bias... don't all act so 'defensive' about this - I'm not 'criticising destructively' but 'constructively' - the main page is good but can be made better. Of course it can. (I'm not so sure about the sub-pages off it... maybe we need to be be spending more time on those... and they cerainly need to include those 'Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy'/)

Docmartincohen (talk) 21:13, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Would you cite some sources for the "uncontroversial 'Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy'" if you are not inclined to write an article on it? Could you cite some sourccs to show or support "division between Western and 'everyone else' is ethnocentric and historically misleading"? Nobody is being defensive; we just need sources to support changes/additional material. We cannot very well "include those 'Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy" withour citations or it will be challenged immediately as OR. You MUST have some sources yourself for your beilef in these links, unless it came to you in a dream. If you have said as much in one of your bokks, surely there are footnotes and bibliography in your book(s). Why won't you share?--Philogo 23:29, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmmm... I would like to respond to this, but I've just been blocked indefinitely! Seems someone objected to a posting I made about inappropriate sourcing on 'totalitarianism' by neocons...

viz: "Sockpuppetry : Docmartincohen, Wikigiraffes, Dremeraldgibb, NoPointofView, Wikisquirrels all confirmed as the same already-blocked account and blocked accordingly. Wikipedia is not a platform for professional disputes or attacks on living persons. IP edits are also easily spotted and will be reverted and blocked as necessary - David Gerard (talk ) 03:41, 27 July 2008 (UTC '

In fact, several people use this computer... Even if it were true, this seems a long delayed adminstrative sanction against historical activities...? Scarcely serving any legitimate 'prevention of abuse' purpose. I've checked up: ther first 3 were blocked several months ago, Wikisquirrels who has made no controversial edits at all is being blocked today but has not made any edits for several months. My own account, - of course- is beyond reproach! I was just getting into the careful copy checking of the philosphy pages, when I came across a fake quotation about Hitler's views of Marxism, which I found sourced to an American neo-conservative, whose views were quite obviously part of a politically directed campaign. I raised the matter on WIkiedia review and lo!

If anyone can help to get the block lifted, I'll be pleased to get back to this interesting issue and provide some references. (talk) 17:47, 28 July 2008 (UTC) (as docmartincohen)

You could provide the citations/refs here and other editors could research them.--Philogo 12:46, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

--Philogo 12:46, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Here's one or two to start with...

As well as the source cited, there is, for example, Cavendish makes this reference to East-West links:

"The cosmological doctrines of the Pythagoreans have an affinity with views of which traces survive in many parts of the world. Thus, in China, a system of musical sounds is related to the order of the universe and with the orderly sequence of the seasons. In India the sound OM is the creative principle of the universe; the Vedic chants maintain cosmic stability and compel even the gods."

A. P. Cavendish in A Critical History of Western Philosophy, ed D. J. O'Connor, p7, Macmillan 1985)

Secondly, Wikipedia itself already notes the debt of WP to EP concerning Hegel and the dialectic. And this recent book offers an overview, and another solid source for East-West links claims.

Eastern Influences on Western Philosophy: A Reader, Edited by: A.L. Macfie, Edinburgh University Press, 2003

Wooly Sheep (talk) 13:09, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

What about pre-hispanic american philosophies? I suggest that at the introduction, or at the Branches of Philosophy section, this problem of dividing and labeling all human philosophical thought be explained. Gabsvillalobos (talk) 05:36, 18 May 2009 (UTC)

East is East and West is West

"The cosmological doctrines of the Pythagoreans have an affinity with views of which traces survive in many parts of the world. Thus, in China, a system of musical sounds is related to the order of the universe and with the orderly sequence of the seasons. In India the sound OM is the creative principle of the universe; the Vedic chants maintain cosmic stability and compel even the gods."

This Cavendish quote is a good example of how tenuous attempts to find ancient links between the Medeterranian World and the Far East are. "have an affinity", "traces survive". I don't think anyone doubts that there may be some link, it's just that nobody has found evidence for one.

As for Hagel, by the Nineteenth Century of course there were connections between the East and the West. Nobody denies that.

Rick Norwood (talk) 13:30, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Is just Post hoc ergo procter hoc. The quotation does not demonstrate "links and connections" at all: it merely shows (or rathher claims) there is something in common. The fact that, say Leibniz and Newton had and published similar mathematical ideas more or less at the same time does not establish that the theories were linked rather than arising independently. To show that there is a link or connection between say Australian aborigine religion and this of some tribe deep in the Amazon forest, you would have to show more than thy had some idea in common, that perhaps the moon is a person. It does not demonstrate that the ideas were not arrived at independently. In any case Cavendish just asserts there is "an affinity", give one or two examples, with no references to primary sources, nor gives any arguments at all against the notion arsing independently. Suppose Rick Norwood and I compared notes on or physiology and found we had something in common (size of big toe e.g.) would that establish that we were long lost cousins? Definitely not good enough accept for Tele, X-files or the like. Must try harder. Retake Philopshy 1001 and History 1001. C- --Philogo 22:44, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Look, dears, if a particular view exists first somewhere, say the notion of the relationship of opposites, and then appears shortly afterwards somewhere else, it is NOT good research practice to assume the two developments are unrelated - even though of course theat is always 'pssible'. Instead, with every philosophical doctrine and every philosopher, where a particular and distinctive view is in one tradition or one philosopher's work, we 'assume' that the one has , if you like' caused' the other. If you want to say otherwise, it is for you to demonstrate the practical unliklihood of X knowing or having been told anything about Y. In all the well-established cases, the philosopher's themselves acknowledge reading these Eastern texts.

If you continue to impose your 'majority view' as earlier, I would suggest that you put a notice at the top saying that this page is not interested in genuinely open debate, but only seeks to reflectthe prejudices of a handful of 'frogs at the bottom of the well'...

I'm not carrying on with it, in any case. The earlier invitation has proved to be insincere. (talk) 12:52, 30 July 2008 (UTC) (Martin)

You are not helping your credibility by editing from multiple IP addresses when you have been banned for sock puppetry. The form of the argument you are using reminds me those used to link the builders of Avebury with the Egyptians. Poor logic --Snowded TALK 13:13, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Then I discover that another of your sock puppets is making similar edits on Chinese philosophy. I think from now on your contributions should be ignored (and reversed) and we should be alert to your appearing under multiple identities. --Snowded TALK 13:31, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
As I said, it's just post hoc ergo procter hoc. Nothing this editor has posted gives me the impression that he or she has progressed beyond a single intoductory course in philosophy, if that.--Philogo 22:19, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

invitation to back up your views

If you those involved in the 'East/West' debate above, 'believe' what they are saying, please provide me with your real names, and qualifications to opine, plus any relevant publications: East/ West links. If you have none, that of course does not mean you are wrong, but it maybe undermines your credibility.

I assume you have none, and if I don't hear any more, I shall use that assumption as part of a discussion of 'Wikipedia bias' which I am writing now for a UK paper and later for a book. If you prefer to email me, you can try that, but I think Phil Sandifer/ Snowded may have had that facility blocked... I dunno and I'm not that interested - but if it is, compalin to Phil!

Cheers! (talk) 12:19, 2 August 2008 (UTC) (DMC)

Well you could start by using an account not an IP address then you might have some credibility, My user page gives you access to who I am and email if you want, its not blocked and I belong to the group who would ban IP editors. Suggest you declare who you are. --Snowded TALK 13:00, 2 August 2008 (UTC)
You could "write a new page on 'Links between Western Philosophy and African Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy'", with citations, if you were able. Editors avoid "opining" because our opinions count for nothing in Wikipedia since OR is prohibited. See e.g. top of this page. Snowded and I have no idea what each other believe about links between Western and other philosophical traditions; we both however insist that any claims (for or against) are supported by cited sources which, alas, have not been forthcoming. If you wish to express opinions you could run a blog or write to a newspaper, or there's always your local pub or Hyde Park corner. Have fun.--Philogo 00:14, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


For those who engaged with the attempt to define philosophy according to the dictates of Rand, you might like the following entry from the 2008 edition of the The Philosophical Lexicon

rand, n. An angry tirade occasioned by mistaking philosophical disagreement for a personal attack and/or evidence of unspeakable moral corruption. "When I questioned his second premise, he flew into a rand." Also, to attack or stigmatise through a rand. "When I defended socialised medicine, I was randed as a communist." --Snowded TALK 11:48, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Heh. By the way, thanks to the responsible editor(s) for revising the format of the article. I've been away for a couple of weeks and just saw it.KD Tries Again (talk) 20:38, 17 August 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Peter Damian

This talk page is for the discussion of reliable sources having to do with building and keeping up with the Philosophy article. I'm closing this thread now. Gwen Gale (talk) 05:55, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

For those who have not seen Jimmy Wales himself has decided to ban Peter. Hving looked through the exchanges I think this is excessive and damaging to WIkipedia. Looks like protection of friends rather than being objective and I intend to say so directly next time I am on the same conference platform. The ban is so total that one cannot even comment on it unless you are an admin. It follows the letter of the law but not the spirit and I have seen far worse behaviour to editors go unmentioned (they were not members of Arbcom however). Either way I thought a public acknowledgement of Peter's work on many articles should be made and decided to place it here. --Snowded TALK 20:08, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what happened elsewhere, but it certainly seems like a loss for this page. JJL (talk) 22:49, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
What a crock. A quality editor and expert (Peter Damian) banned, essentially for publicly pointing out some very questionable behavior by a member of ArbCom. That Wales supported this silencing of a critic of Wikipedia's de facto oligarchs says something about his character and judgment, especially when considered in the light of other choices he has made, such as accepting and enabling a liar as a Wikipedia admin ("Essjay"). 271828182 (talk) 04:31, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I have no opinion of Wales, but I'll certainly miss Peter.KD Tries Again (talk) 15:58, 8 September 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
I am not clear whether Skoojal is removing this section in an official capacity or just as an individual editor. If the latter, I am inclined to agree that some comments above may be problematic - but why not just request their removal rather than unilaterally remove other editors' comments from the talk page?KD Tries Again (talk) 18:59, 17 September 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
Worse than that he took it directly to the Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents where a discussion ensued (I engaged). Given that the edit history is not available its difficult to check. However I am pretty sure that Skoojal was in dispute with Peter and tied up with the last attempt to block him. --Snowded TALK 19:22, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
That discussion seems to have vanished now. I suppose other editors like JJL and myself are supposed to be telepathic? I am afraid my first reaction to another editor unilaterally and without discussion removing my comments from a Talk Page is to replace them. Perhaps an administrator will show up here tell me that my comments violate one policy or another?KD Tries Again (talk) 20:02, 17 September 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
Actually, I don't think Skoojal was in any way involved in banning Peter, though Skooj has no love lost for Peter, owing to an earlier edit conflict on the Gilles Deleuze article. Skoojal is just here as an individual editor; in fact, he has admitted that he came here following my edit history, as he nurses an animus against me owing to numerous edit conflicts on the aforementioned Deleuze article, and, finding I had made a comment that may have violated policy, he seized upon it and took it to ANI, eager to pursue his vendetta against me. He is a problem editor, and his edit history would make for a psychological case study, if anyone could muster the interest to actually slog through it. If you like, you can get a relatively brief flavor of his pattern of behavior by perusing his comments on my talk page, or by looking at his early edits (before he learnt to cloak his axes under cover of Wikipedia policies). My apologies for attracting him here. 271828182 (talk) 04:43, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

First sentence for Existentialism

I think I promised long ago to provide a first sentence which actually says what existentialism is. Since I am currently trying to get a stable introduction to the main Existentialism article, I have added my current working version of a definition to the section here too. I do have sources for it, and will add them shortly (Macquarrie, Barrett, Oxford Companion to Phil.).KD Tries Again (talk) 20:44, 11 October 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

My favorite definition of existentialism is: "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is." Rick Norwood (talk) 12:15, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
I think, therefore I drink. Gwen Gale (talk) 12:30, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

If anyone has time on their hands, and is at all interested in Existentialism, there is a miserable stand-off regarding the introduction to the article which could use third party comment. See [here] or more tediously [here].KD Tries Again (talk) 23:24, 13 October 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Branches of philosophy

Since this article seems to be under a lot of contention as to the enumeration of philosophical subject areas, I figure I should propose this here first rather than just being bold.

I would like to suggest the inclusion of philosophy of religion and something regarding free will into the "Branches of Philosophy" section. (Is there a succinct term for "the philosophical study of issues relating to the will, especially its freedom or lack thereof"? cause I've certainly never heard or found one, though there is clearly at least some overlap with action theory there). My justification for the inclusion of these topics is twofold: one, they are very popular philosophical topics, not necessarily with contemporary published philosophers but certainly with laypeople and philosophy students. (I have noticed that the philosophy discussion clubs at both colleges I attended almost always began the term's discussion with one of these two topics, usually free will, and my own Intro to Philosophy course years back [the one I took, not one I teach] began, and apparently still begins, with discussion of theodicy).

The second reason is that, in my own opinion, philosophy of religion and (for lack of a better term) philosophy of free will are complementary subjects to political philosophy and philosophy of mind, in much the way that metaethics and normative ethics mirror metaphysics and epistemology, respectively. On that same subject, I would like to reorder the listing of branches: from logic and philosophy of language at the top (about the basic, syntactic and semantic elements of philosophical discourse); through metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics (about the fundamental objects of reality and morality, and the methods of knowledge and justice); philosophy of mind and free will (about human subjects and their natures); philosophy of religion and political philosophy (about institutions and authorities); and then aesthetics at the bottom (because it is about sublime topics, and so is opposite the dry and mathematical topics of logic and phil of language).

The direction of ordering is not relevant to importance in my opinion; I'd be fine with reversing the order. I'm just trying to group related and disparate subjects together in a logical way. Thoughts? -Pfhorrest (talk) 06:26, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the proposals. I suspect that the fact you can't find a commonly used phrase like "philosophy of freedom of the will" answers the question - I don't myself think it's a branch of the subject, although it's unquestionably heavily studied as part of philosophy of mind, or arguably "philosophy of action" (which is at least a phrase in use). I think you are going to be asked for citations to support that change. I don't have strong feelings either way about philosophy of religion; clearly it is a branch of the subject.KD Tries Again (talk) 15:48, 15 October 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Merger of Metaphilosophy with Definition of philosophy

I've proposed a merger of definition of philosophy into metaphilosophy, since only one article links to the former and their subjects are largely coextensive. However, since that means few people are aware of that article, and thus discussion there is extremely slow, I'm trawling for further opinions so some consensus can be established. Please stop by Talk:Definition_of_philosophy#Yet_more_merger_discussion and approve/oppose/comment as you will. Thanks. -Pfhorrest (talk) 07:03, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Oh and also, I'd like to propose a short section after the ToC but before the Branches section on explaining what exactly is philosophy in more detail than the lede, via an excerpt or two from Metaphilosophy, with a "Main article: Metaphilosophy" hatnote. -Pfhorrest (talk) 07:47, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Just on the first point, I think you should take it to the Talk Page for one or both of those articles. On the second point, I think you'll find it hard to get consensus on a detailed explanation of what philosophy is, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't make a suggestion.KD Tries Again (talk) 15:45, 15 October 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
I have posted on both talk pages, I'm just trawling for input from this page since there's so little activity there, and you all have mulled over related topics for the lede here. Also, I'm not necessarily seeking consensus on a single definition of philosophy, more of a brief summary of metaphilosophical answers to the question "what is philosophy?". E.g. "Fooists defines philosophy as P, while Barists define philosophy as Q..." -Pfhorrest (talk) 19:29, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I would be very very wary of merging meta-philosophy into philosophy. I would similary be very wary of merging, say philosphy of scince into science. I think ther are very good reasons to keep them seperate. I fear the introduced material would be controversial and attract drive by edits like flies to a dung-heap and dilute the usefullness of this article. The amount of time spent on agreeing the lede would eb a good indication or the time that would be used up if we merged in meta-philosphy. I am not convinced that it would be a lot of use to the average reader (who can always click the link of he or she is really interested.) IMHO the nature of philosphy itselef wouold be a subject that a person would best avoid until they had done a considerable amount of philosophy, and the intended audience for this article is wider than that, i.e. the general reader.--Philogo 13:26, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

To-do list

I think it would be useful, for the purposes of improving this article, to create a to-do list in the header area, as I have seen on several other articles.

My initial suggestions for major to-do items would be:

  • Settle the matter of the definition, scope, and subdivision of philosophy.
  • Balance the Eastern and Western philosophical coverage of this article.

And yes I'm aware that that's a lot of what's been happening here on the talk page already, I just think it would be good to formally state we need to do these things prominently at the top.

Relevant factors, in addition to those already raised in discussion here, may include some of the content of metaphilosophy (and definition of philosophy) for the first point, and the content of Eastern philosophy (which could be used to flesh out the Eastern section here) and its proposed merger with Eastern religions for the second point.

Also on the second point, I recently merged the article on Natural Rights with the article on Inalienable Rights, and in merging their respective history sections (see Natural_rights#History) created some nice interweave of Euro/Anglo philosophy with Islamic philosophy, particularly the in possible influence of Islamic philosophy on John Locke. Granted, there's not a whole lot on eastern influences in there, but I thought it might serve as a small example of how to interweave geographically distinct philosophical histories with each other. Just list philosophical events chronologically, and mention which earlier events (from whatever geographical areas) influenced which.

I might also suggest that the section on various doctrines be woven into the philosophical history, basically describing such doctrines in their historical contexts (e.g. discuss empiricism and rationalism in the section on modern-era western philosophy). -Pfhorrest (talk) 08:12, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

In favor of having a list. Work on this article has been stalled indefinitely thanks, I think, to a series of time-consuming disputes, but that's no reason we shouldn't have a record of the work left undone. I'd be happy to add to it. I am not sure that the benefit from trying to knit the historical and doctrinal sections together will repay the massive effort which would be involved (and I refer to effort achieving consensus as much as effort editing).KD Tries Again (talk) 15:51, 15 October 2008 (UTC)KD Tries Again
I'm not entirely certain how to add the to-do list template properly, so if you know how to do that, please go right ahead. As for the big combination of things I suggested, I'd be more than happy to do the initial editing, and perhaps posting it to the talk page or a page in my own user space for discussion before making it live, if that helps. The edit wouldn't consist of anything more than rearranging the existing content, maybe copying some content from assorted Eastern Philosophy articles to flesh that angle out, and then copy-editing for consistent tone and tense, segues between paragraphs, etc. From that framework people can then move forward and add in relevant bits of history / schools of philosophy into the narrative, relating them to the existing bits as relevant. -Pfhorrest (talk) 19:44, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I too would be in favour of a to-do list. For reasons given above I would oppose the merger of meta-philsophy into philosophy being on the to-do list. Based on past esperience editing this article, I would also suggest that matters relating to Eat-West philsophy be put on the very bottom of the list; it too is bound to raise a whole lot of furious opinions and result in no valuable added content. Editors do have the opportunity to add material to the Eastern philopshy paragraphs, but so far as I can see very little materail is ever added. Consequenltly if no good amtrail is offered, creating a "balance" would require shedding material from Westerm Pnhilosophy (so-called). These terms (like "continental philosophy") have been around for some time and so it is difficult to avoid them, would that we could, so that we need not talk about "Western Philosophy in Indian and Japan". I am not convinced that it is really that helpful to the ordinary reader to talk about French Philosophy, Roman philosphy, Greek philosphy, rather than about Ethics, Logic Epistemenology. That's OK in a history section, but not in the topic section, and most readers would surely want to learn abouot Philopshy first amd its history second (just as they would expect to read about Science first and history of science second. --Philogo 13:42, 31 October 2008 (UTC)


I propose a link to metaphilosophy for those folk interested in the nature of philosophy itself, attempts at definition and so on. The link could not come under "branches" (could it?) so I suppose it would have to be at end of the lead, or better and more approriate, at the end of the article.--Philogo 15:04, 31 October 2008 (UTC)


Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Confucius, Laozi, Krishna, Siddhartha Gautama, Zoroaster, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle never had "degrees" in theology or philosophy. So don't teach their teachings if you think they're unqualified. (talk) 19:55, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

i agree...! some people with no studies, and quite humble looking, have patented important things...! undoubtedly they had the capacity, although not the instruction...! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:44, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Western bias?

I don't know much about philosophy, but it seems to me that this article has an extreme bias towards Western philosophy (the section on Western philosophy is much larger than that of Eastern philosophy). What does everyone think about this? (talk) 03:01, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Your language is a bit extreme but no one would object to additional material on Eastern philosophy --Snowded TALK 05:54, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Why is there no mention at all of Eskimo philosophy? There is also a bias that prevents any inclusion of the thoughts of Guamanian philosophers.Lestrade (talk) 13:45, 17 December 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

I suspect that Lestrade is unaware of how racist his joke is, equating the entire relam of philosophy created by non-Westerners to the philosophy of two small groups. The article also has no subsection on New Jersey philosophy. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:25, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Eskimo and Guamanian philosophies are only small parts of "the entire realm of philosophy created by non-Westerners." They deserve mention in the article. Your suspicion is correct because I was unaware that Eskimos and Guamanians constituted distinct, individual human racial groups. Thank you for your information.Lestrade (talk) 14:40, 17 December 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Note: I said "groups", you said "racial groups". Rick Norwood (talk) 13:34, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

But you said that my comment was racist.Lestrade (talk) 00:03, 19 December 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

It is racist to equate all non-Westerners (which includes the majority of the human race) and Innuit (who comprise far less than one percent of the human race). The implication is that all non-Western thought is trivial, and that's racist. Rick Norwood (talk) 15:15, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

There is nothing to prevent anybody adding any relevant material to this article on any no matter what the ethnicity of the philosopher or the country in which it was published. There is the usual distinction between Western and Eastern philosophy and there is much more material on Western philosophy but since the articles are written by individuals it is hard to say how or why that this represent a bias on the part of the individual or the article. We cannot really tell why individuals do not write more material on Eastern philosophy. I would not consider a Chinese/Indian/Russian Wikipedia which had more material on Chinese/Indian/Russian philosophy/history/medicine than British or "Western" philosophy/history/medicine to be biased nor their editors their biased. --Philogo 13:05, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with that the article "Philosophy", by not even mentioning Eastern philosophy, is biased to the Western canon. Let's leave unhelpful racist accusations about the possible causes of the bias out of the discussion. To remedy the perceived bias, why not have, near the beginning of the revised article, a section justifying why the article will be mostly about Western Philosophy (if that is what is wanted)? Then why not, shortly after, either break the article into two parts, Western and Eastern, or (if the article is going to continue to be only about Western philosophy) link to the very interesting article "Eastern Philosophy"? Grantsky (talk) 15:19, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Re by not even mentioning Eastern philosophy: The article DOES mention "Eastern Philosophy" in so far as there is a section thus titled. Re break the article into two parts, Western and Eastern The article already has two sections headed Western Philosophy and Eastern Philosophy. re if the article is going to continue to be only about Western philosophy but it isn't . re justifying why the article will be mostly about Western Philosophy because (a) since the articles are written by individuals it is hard to say why there are more contributions on "Western" than "Eastern". (b) It would not improve the article.--Philogo 13:00, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Why is there no mention of <insert only a single group here> philosophy? Karbinski (talk) 16:20, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Eastern philosophy is mentioned, but in such a style that it seems the editor's tried to brush it off. It is evident most of the article is devoted to the western concepts, thus we should at least even it out.-- (talk) 15:54, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

By the way... Instead of complaining about something, please debate on this topic. If you feel someone is racist you should discuss this on their 'talk page'-- (talk) 15:58, 11 December 2009 (UTC)


the second sentence of the second paragraph in 2.1.3 makes no sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

A new player

There is a new index of online philosophy: Pretty huge, made by David Chalmers. Should be listed here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Additional topic?

I did not see any mention of philosophical debates or regarding the "ultimate purpose" of life. Purhaps there is a non-religious scholar able to correct this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps there are no clear sides, or the arguments involved aren't formalized enough for a properly referenced description of their nature? --Kizor 23:00, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that an article on the Meaning of life exists, which seems to fit the subject in question. From its lede: "The meaning of life constitutes a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of human existence". I don't know if that article is high enough quality to merit partial inclusion in a subsection here, or if it's even significant enough to warrant a mention in this article, but if you wanted to do such a thing, that's probably the place to start. --Pfhorrest (talk) 00:23, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
I have never come across "meaning of life" as a topic in philosophy, but whose read everything?--Philogo (talk) 01:40, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I did a degree in philosophy at London uni. I never came across any course or topic on the meaning of life. Strange really. TaoWiki (talk) 19:42, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Why strange? surely it's a question for biologists.--Philogo (talk) 01:22, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
It was set as a question on a first year paper when I was at Lancaster, but at the time I was not aware that the answer was 42. --Snowded (talk) 20:15, 22 February 2009 (UTC)
Was another question "Is everything relative?"--Philogo (talk) 01:22, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
No but I wish it had been, questions that required thought rather than memory were always welcome. --Snowded (talk) 05:57, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
For that purpose for first year starter for ten, "How do you know you are not now dreaming" is hard to beat. --Philogo (talk) 13:30, 13 March 2009 (UTC)


All those of you watching this page, please come and have a look at linguistics. There is a gross misrepresentation and censorship taking place there. Post-structural linguistics has been deleted and censored by the community there, and I urge you to participate in the discussion to restore a balanced view for the article. Supriya 13:19, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, but since I find the article Post-structuralism unreadable, I'm not inclined to push for more on this topic. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:59, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

User: is a vandal...

Who has trashed the article lead with "boc boc boc" nonsense. Going off his edit history, it is apparently his bag. I would revert, but I really don't know crap about the reverting process, just thought I would bring this to the attention of the Wikipedians. (talk) 11:06, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for calling it to our attention.Rick Norwood (talk) 14:35, 13 March 2009 (UTC)


We have recently added Jurisprudence as a branch of philosophy. The article at Jurisprudence says "Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law" but the latter redirects back to Jurisprudence. If Jurisprudence is philosophy of law under another name then it is covered by the final para of Branches of Philosphy which refers to various "philosophies of.."..We should be wary of mission drift in contenct of gthe para Branches of Philosophy, or we are in danger of having the twigs as well as the branches.--Philogo (talk) 09:56, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree. Rick Norwood (talk) 13:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree as well, maybe add into the final paragraph of the section? --Snowded (talk) 14:26, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Done--Philogo (talk) 22:34, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Western Tilt

I find it amusing that 3/4th of the Article mentions every damn old greek philosophers to modern German Philosophers and then it tries to windup the eastern philosophers with few passages and a link to Indian ,chinese another page. Is there any reason why eastern philosophy is linked to another separate article whereas western philosophy is described in details? If the reason to be given is the size of the article then both east and west have to be well balanced or this page title has to be renamed as western philosophy. (talk) 12:03, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

The reason is that (a) no editor has expanded the section on Eastern philosophy, but they have provided links to Indian philosopy etc. (b) no editor has put in any links to Greek philosophy, German philsophy &c. but (evidently) preferred to keep all the material together irrespectrive of the nationality or ethnic origin of the philosopher concerned. Others have raised the same point numerous times in the past on this talk page.--Philogo (talk) 12:18, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec) : Its come up before and the general view was that the Eastern sections should be expanded, however balanced treatement is not simply a matter of word count. --Snowded (talk) 12:19, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Those damn old Greeks were pretty smart cookies, but more on non-Western philosophy would be welcome. The problem is we can only write about what we know about, so we are waiting for somebody who knows a lot about non-Western philosophy to take up the challenge.Rick Norwood (talk) 15:27, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, p. 39 [Free Press, 1979]; [4]--Philogo (talk) 00:15, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

lol, Alfred may have it right. --Karbinski (talk) 16:07, 19 May 2009 (UTC). It is obvious to know that some people are great philosopers but they dont know. One can be a philosopher of arts, science, music, ideologist and so on; all we have to remember is that as wenot let our own knowledge florished we unconciously worsen brightness of the world in general.
It is certainly unfortunate if the article is Western-biased, but so much of Wikipedia is in a mess biased towards modern Western mainstream culture. I hope I or someone could expand the article, but I am not sure there is a good chance of that happening very soon. I suppose some of us may be concerned with other articles related to our philosophical interests. A thing about Western philosophy starting with its etymological definition in the West is that it is 'footnotes' or restatement of 'perennial Philosophy:' I agree with Whitehead's quote but know not what Aristoteleans would say. Aristotle's logic was of course accepted by neo-Platonists. If I tried to improve the POV I would do it from a 'perennial Philosophy' viewpoint that has less to do with the 1600s definition and more to do with non-theistic ideas in Theosophy that tie it into Plato--but I do not know how well-recieved that would be (probably neutrally or not very well. Things have not changed much since the killing and banning of people from Socrates to many/most the neo-Platonists, and the continued ignorant ridicule of them through the time of the Theosophical ones. ;-) )--Dchmelik (talk) 22:25, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Goodness or virtue.

There is disagreement whether the area of philosophy that considers good and evil should be called "goodness" or "virtue". To me, "goodness" has a grade school ring to it, while "virtue" is broader and deeper. Discussion, pro or con? Rick Norwood (talk) 14:32, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Does virtue not pre-suppose good and evil? How about morality *and* virtue? --Karbinski (talk) 16:41, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Virtue was the prior consensus and is (I think) the better word. It encompasses the other concepts. --Snowded TALK 17:55, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
I have axed both in favor of "values", which (1) hews more closely to the published sources, (2) avoids the objections noted above, (3) encompasses beauty, which allows us to shorten the list. 271828182 (talk) 19:10, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
Tbh, I don't believe in "evil", because no one is born or completely "evil"; they are raised that way (so you can assume that they aren't entirely to blame). Goodness is also too vague of a measure, imo. Virtue and vice (or vice and virtue) sound the best to me.
Then again, I've noticed the replacement of "evil" and "sinful" with "disordered", which makes more sense. MichaelExe (talk) 21:17, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

This may be too obvious, but I'd call the branch of philosophy which deals with good and evil "ethics" or "morals" (or even "morality"), which is at least faithful to universal (okay Western) philosophical practice. Also, I just noticed that "law" joined "justice" in the introductory list earlier this year. Since we don't need two ways of saying jurisprudence, I have deleted "law".KD Tries Again (talk) 14:25, 10 September 2009 (UTC)KD Tries Again

Snowded reverted my edit to the existing mess, saying the opening sentence was the result of much labor. I observed said labor closely, and anyone can review it (the closing remarks are still at the top of this Talk page). The "consensus" view (really Philogo's proposal, winning by exhaustion) was:
"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind and language"
Notice that this is not the current sentence. I disagree with even this formula above, since an the vast majority of encyclopedia readers will not correctly understand what philogo meant by "validity", and because "justice" and "beauty" are not clearly sourced, and are replaceable with the more concise "values" (which is sourced). Since philogo was trying to comment on the obvious philosophical interest in logic with "validity", and since "reason" appears in both sources AND is a more encompassing and easily understood term, my proposal is:
"Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language."
In any event, we should NOT revert to the current sentence, which is NOT the result of consensus, but entropy. 271828182 (talk) 16:56, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
Happy to admit it if I was wrong - I thought I had the lede under patrol and would have seen any changes. --Snowded TALK 19:55, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
271828182's proposal sounds good to me. --Pfhorrest (talk) 20:03, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

'Philaletheia' in the intro or later?

I added 'philaletheia' in the intro, but maybe the statement about it being a historical term or school should go later: I think the article's intro should be short. Would it be appropriate in the 'Ancient Philosophy' section? I like Philosophy but this is not an article I work on a lot because many others do... who may be more academic than me. I think the article should be based on the OED and the Hermetic-Orphic-Pythagorean-Socratic-(neo-)Platonic tradition, which have to do with the main definitions in English, and I have studied that a fair bit and adhere to some of its principles that some who have studied it more do not... but that should not matter. This article is a general one on Philosophy that may not even have to be based on the OED and Greek. If you still think it should or likewise agree philaletheia is on-topic, what should its role be in the article since its own article was deleted?--Dchmelik (talk) 22:15, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Better later and in "Ancient", at least that is my take --Snowded TALK 22:19, 26 September 2009 (UTC)
I need to ask what it is, and what authorities refer to it? I haven't come across the term (although its derivation is obvious), and a quick search suggests it's linked either to theosophy or to more recent groups of a religious bent. So how would it fit here at all?KD Tries Again (talk) 20:54, 28 September 2009 (UTC)KD Tries Again
I stated the ancient authorities, so all it needs is verification and citation. You are right that now it seems a term used in Theosophy (neo-Platonic,) but I thought it might be something interesting in the introduction. People are often trying to give their definition of what Philosophy is, but an introduction that just gives some more in-depth relavant linguistic information, particularly synonyms (rather than definitions) might be useful so people can arrive at their own conclusion.--Dchmelik (talk) 05:12, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I have to say, why is the Greek word philalethia there at all? Philiasophia (φιλιασοφία, literally translates to 'love of wisdom') is much better as it is the actual root of the word, not just a translation or approximant. Sophia (wisdom) pops up in a lot of places also if you look- Hagia Sophia, ancient Greek ἄγια σοφία, literally translates to 'hallowed wisdom' or something like that. So why is philalethia there at all? ... -Panther (talk) 01:10, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Later or not at all. Rick Norwood (talk) 12:07, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Agree with Rick --Snowded TALK 07:26, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Is there a reason why if you click the first link on an article and the first link on the next, and the next, etc etc (not including the phonetic spelling) you always end up here? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:34, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

We could do with one of these, I think

right down at the bottom of the page, where there are links to "Ethics", "aesthetics", etc etc, and also "africana", "anarchism" etc., well I think we could also do with "Japanese philosophy", "Korean philosophy", "American philosophy". Well, what do we think? I'm going to let someone else do this, who knows more about how to do it correctly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:52, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

About the problem with non-Western philosophy

The fact that the non-Western philosophy section is so small has already been pointed out several times, and the answer is usually: we are waiting for somebody who has good knowledge about the subject to come and fix it. I would like to suggest another strategy. In the German and Spanish version of the article, there is a small disambiguation note at the beginning that goes something like "This article is about the Western philosophical tradition. For the Eastern philosophical tradition, see Eastern philosophy." I suggest that you include a similar note and merge the Eastern philosophy section of this article with the Eastern Philosophy article. Given that non-Western philosophy also includes African philosophy and other traditions, maybe you could include a link to some kind of disambiguation page where all the non-Western traditions could be listed, instead of the link to Eastern philosophy. Something like: "This article is about the Western philosophical tradition. For other philosophical traditions, see Philosophy (disambiguation)." Or maybe you could include a paragraph in the introduction explaining the scope of this article, and including links to the other traditions not covered in the article. After all, the main acceptation of the word "philosophy" is Western philosophy. --LFS (talk) 13:37, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

BTW, in the Spanish Wikipedia, where I work, I recently merged the article of Western Philosophy into the one of Philosophy. This is not because I think that both things are identical, but because once the Philosophy article became explicitly about Western philosophy, it seemed natural to make Western philosophy a redirection to Philosophy, instead of having two articles that cover the same area. I mention this so that you consider doing it too, if you think that the strategy I proposed above is a good one. *hug* --LFS (talk) 14:05, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Philosophia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  2. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  3. ^ The definition of philosophy is: "1.orig., love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2.theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe". Webster's New World Dictionary (Second College ed.).
  4. ^ Philosophia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  5. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  6. ^ The definition of philosophy is: "1.orig., love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge 2.theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe". Webster's New World Dictionary (Second College ed.).