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What makes a subject or question philosophical?

Coolydudey

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This question is inherently different to asking "what is philosophy?", as it is equivalent to "what is philosophy comprised of?", and you can only describe something by its contents, not equate it to them. Having said that, it is similar, and that may be the reason why I haven't personally seen it anywhere.

The reason I'm posting this here, is partly because I see a lot of topics on here that I personally consider entirely philosophical, and partly because I think you guys wil have an interesting answer. Basically, I'm looking for your input.
 

Cognisant

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Technically all thought is philosophy, including all beliefs, however we tend to isolate different fields for ease of discussion, like science for example and the many disciplines of which it is itself comprised, likewise faith and spirituality exist within the purview of philosophy but for the sake of secular discussion a distinction is made so that every existential discussion doesn't turn into a god debate.

So I guess the contemporary definition of philosophy as a field unto itself would be the study of things that only exist as concepts, for instance a philosophical discussion of economics is possible until it comes to the implementation of economic theories in which case it falls within the field of economics.

Likewise we can discuss the philosophy of religion, insofar as the conversation remains purely theoretical, but once specific beliefs are brought up it becomes a religious debate.
 

Rook

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Philosophy deals with subjects that are inherently hard to prove, unproven or impossible to prove. Science also deals with these subjects, but in a different manner. Philosphy is speculation, were personal prejiduce can have a decisive influence. For example, a philosopher may ask: "Is there a god? Is it moral to go to war?" His answers may be: "The universe is logical, thus intelligence must have created it" and "War achieves a purpose and brings times of peace, thus it has moral justification" when philosophy is removed, the answers are: "There is no empiracal evidence for a god, yet the possibilty of an omniprescient being cannot be ruled out completely" and "Through analysis, we have observed that periods after and during war lead to economic depression, collateral damage, and poverty, leading to harsh conditions for non-combatants. Thus war is not morally justifiable." Philosophers look into the murkiness, bringing clarity by introducing more murkiness. Scienctists strive to bring some clarity to the murkiness, avoiding the introduction of more murkiness.
 

Cognisant

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This is arguing semantics and I HATE arguing semantics, but...

Imo what you're calling science is just stringent philosophy, for instance the statement "The universe is logical, thus intelligence must have created it" is the sort of sophism that would have most self respecting philosophers in an uproar, just as it would attract considerable dispute around here, after all we are philosophers too are not?

Science isn't just stringent, it's empirical, deterministic, the scientific method is based upon a foundation of philosophical assumptions, so to imply that philosophy is shoddy science is really putting the cart before the horse.
 

Rook

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I do agree with you. The stated sentence was just a (flawed) example. Scientists do take many factors on fate, there is philosophy in science. I am an ardent philosopher (amateur, not abiding by terms and spesific systems). My statements were mere examples, but they were poor ones at that. The fact is: Science originated from philosophy, but is now different in one aspect: Scientific principles can be disproved(mathematics, observation etc.), while philosphy is more abstract and "non-applicable"(in a materialistic sense). Thus science is accurate philosophy aided by observation and experiment, while philosophy tackles problems that are truly hard to prove by those methods.
(Semantics be damned, I'm arguing useless technicalities.)
 

BigApplePi

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What makes a subject or question philosophical? This question is inherently different to asking "what is philosophy?", as it is equivalent to "what is philosophy comprised of?", and you can only describe something by its contents, not equate it to them. Having said that, it is similar, and that may be the reason why I haven't personally seen it anywhere.

The reason I'm posting this here, is partly because I see a lot of topics on here that I personally consider entirely philosophical, and partly because I think you guys wil have an interesting answer. Basically, I'm looking for your input.
To try to answer your question, I doubt if philosophy exists in isolation by itself as a topic. Philosophy is always ABOUT something. First we pick the topic about which we wish to philosophize. Philosophizing is about evaluating and knowing and other things I can't think of at the moment. So we pick the topic. If we ask, what's it for, what good is it? And how true or valid it is rather than discussing the topic itself, we are philosophizing.
 

RubberDucky451

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It's already been stated before, but ultimately every subject is potentially philosophical. That is to say, every subject can be approached from a philosophic standpoint. The philosopher's toolkit for understanding the world will be somewhat different from a scientist or an engineer. Philosophy or philosophic insight should attempt to synthesize several different standpoints into one coherent explanation (the artists and the scientists, for example). Synthesis of ideas is a huge part of philosophy.
 

BigApplePi

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It's already been stated before, but ultimately every subject is potentially philosophical.
Absolutely. We can always ask, what the hell are we doing this for the way we are doing it and is it a really good thing to do?



The philosopher's toolkit for understanding the world will be somewhat different from a scientist or an engineer.
The philosopher takes a different attitude. The specialist tends to take his/her specialty seriously. It's what they do and is important to them. The philosopher looks at this from the outside. If the philosopher is not careful, they may be looked at as a critic and so becomes vulnerable.
 

Coolydudey

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It's already been stated before, but ultimately every subject is potentially philosophical. That is to say, every subject can be approached from a philosophic standpoint. The philosopher's toolkit for understanding the world will be somewhat different from a scientist or an engineer. Philosophy or philosophic insight should attempt to synthesize several different standpoints into one coherent explanation (the artists and the scientists, for example). Synthesis of ideas is a huge part of philosophy.
If I could flag something as an answer to the thread, it'd be this. Well said.
 

just george

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When you try to understand something in a general, detached way, we call it philosophy. When you try to understand something in a specific, immediate way, we call it science.

People get a bit mixed up between the two, because everyone's definition of "general, detached" and "specific,immediate" are different, usually because their perspective is different.

For example, if you ask a pickup artist what it is to pick up a girl in a nightclub, he will say that it is a fine science. If you ask an INTP the same question, he will ask "what are pickup artists?" and derail a thread on a forum
 

r4ch3l

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When you try to understand something in a general, detached way, we call it philosophy. When you try to understand something in a specific, immediate way, we call it science.
Yes, I would say that science has a goal of understanding things that are or can someday be applied. Science is like statistics, philosophy can tend to be more like abstract geometry (not saying they are equivalent, but I'm sure you see what I mean).

Philosophy -- to me -- is using the tools we have from experience to understand how to best make use of our experience (paradoxically often by speculating about things that we cannot experience or do not fully understand).

Science is a tool to understand things and so it is utilized by philosophy. And philosophy is by science to see where and how science should be applied. Both love universals though. :D
 
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Both love universals though.
This may be true for some philosophers but i think (hope) the opposite is true as the desirable end result for those who study philosophy. When both 'sides' (arguments/thought experiments/reductos) of X topic are studied and understood the end result for me has (almost?) always been a realization that both have some validity/truth i.e. a loss of certainty in universals.

In fact i think i'd argue that this is the highest value of philosophy.



(ugh, sorry - it's been a while...hopefully some coherence remains)
 

Hadoblado

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My take:

Science interprets reality through observation and prediction.

Philosophy interprets our interpretations of reality through abstraction and logic.

The latter is wicked faffy as a result of non-concrete foundation, all that subjectivity y'all.
 

Words

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I think there's a branch of philosophy for every discipline. There's a philosophy of physics, philosophy of chemistry, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of engineering, philosophy of social science etc.

I think these are great definitions:
Technically all thought is philosophy, including all beliefs, however we tend to isolate different fields for ease of discussion, like science for example and the many disciplines of which it is itself comprised..

So I guess the contemporary definition of philosophy as a field unto itself would be the study of things that only exist as concepts, for instance a philosophical discussion of economics is possible until it comes to the implementation of economic theories in which case it falls within the field of economics.
It's already been stated before, but ultimately every subject is potentially philosophical. That is to say, every subject can be approached from a philosophic standpoint. The philosopher's toolkit for understanding the world will be somewhat different from a scientist or an engineer. Philosophy or philosophic insight should attempt to synthesize several different standpoints into one coherent explanation (the artists and the scientists, for example). Synthesis of ideas is a huge part of philosophy.

My take:

Science interprets reality through observation and prediction.

Philosophy interprets our interpretations of reality through abstraction and logic.

The latter is wicked faffy as a result of non-concrete foundation, all that subjectivity y'all.
Personally, I emphasize more on philosophizing than philosophy. Philosophy is set of knowledge(about the study of concepts(=thoughts) in itself?), but Philosophizing to me is the "logical reinterpretation or re-imagination of a knowledge-concept." As opposed to Ducky's definition, it doesn't have to rely on the synthesis of other people's viewpoint. It can be a completely radical or personal viewpoint. As opposed to Hadoblado's definition, It's not a meta-interpretation but a re-interpretation. It's not about the interpretation but about the knowledge itself. Interpretation is only used as a means to obtain knowledge. The "object" being perceived is not perception itself, although it can be. It's a "re-" because most things are already perceived in some way(?).

If you remove the "logical" from this definition of "philosophizing", then you end up with just "imagination." Therefore, logic + imagination = philosophy. If I relate this to cognitive functions, it would be "T + N = philosophy."
 

ahugenerd

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It starts with the question "what is wisdom?" Then you ask, "what pertains to the study of wisdom?"
 
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