Most stupid definition ever. Is philosophy what philosophers do? #introphil

Vicieuze_cirkelThis is a Stupid circular non-definition.
For think about this question: What is a philosopher? That is someone who does what philosophers do.
And what if this philosopher actually is having his breakfast? What is philosophy? Eating your breakfast?

We could try to define philosophy by examples: Name some things philosophers do when they are philosophizing.

Do philosophers exist if they do not know what they are doing? What is the difference they make?

Dit is een domme cirkelredenering.
Want wat is het antwoord op Wat is een filosoof? Dat is iemand die doet wat filosofen doen.
En wat als deze filosoof zit te ontbijten? Is dat dan filosofie?

Je kunt tenminste proberen om een definitie te geven door een lijstje met voorbeelden.

En bestaan filosofen eigenlijk wel als ze niet doen wat ze doen als filosoof? Welk verschil maken filosofen?




13 thoughts on “Most stupid definition ever. Is philosophy what philosophers do? #introphil

  1. People have a spectrum of identities that may each be abstractly represented by a name or label that captures only a small portion of their “self.” Maybe this is about isolating a particular characteristic and trying to make it into a whole thing? One of my daughters is a vegetarian but, as a busy person, is not known for vegetating–though that might describe the active phase of that characteristic.

    This sounds like a definition that has reduced itself to being meaningless which runs against something a philosopher might ponder–the meaning of things. It is a dead end statement.

  2. Hi Scott, I like the expression ‘dead end statement’. It is about a definition that does not want to be a label, but that is what a definition should be, I think.

  3. Of course you are right Jaap – it is a circular definition in any strict sense but in the context of his video lecture I guess Dave Ward meant something like, ‘philosophy is so wide-ranging in its scope that a simple definition is difficult to come by – nothing seems to be off topic. Maybe better just to call any work of any philosopher – philosophy and leave it at that.’ But then he does goes on to discuss several more satisfactory definitions.

  4. Hi Gordon, Dave Ward is doing a great job. I did not read any comments on his first talk, no disagreement or questions. So I tried to ask some questions.
    Definitions are a help detecting wrong or false or bad philosopohy from the better philosophy, so defining philosophy is a serious matter.
    Students in the course are still looking and waiting for what happens, so maybe in some weeks they will engage in discussion.

  5. Have you looked at the forum? There’s enough disagreements and questions there to keep you busy until next Christmas 🙂 – but it’s not too easy to navigate. Gordon

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