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Encyclopedia > Metaphilosophy

Metaphilosophy (from Greek meta + philosophy) is the study of the subject and matter, methods and aims of philosophy. It is the "philosophy of philosophy". The recursive study of philosophy is an integral part of the philosophical enterprise because it is intertwined with all branches of philosophy as is logic or epistemology. Most metaphilosophy is part of either the formation or the criticism of a philosophical school, but some philosophers devote their time almost exclusively to metaphilosophy such as Stephen Toulmin, Richard Rorty and some continental philosophers. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Look up meta- in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Philosophical method (or philosophical methodology) is the study of how to do philosophy. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... Stephen Edelston Toulmin (born March 25, 1922) is a British philosopher, author, and educator. ... Richard McKay Rorty (born October 4, 1931 in New York City, New York; died June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ... Continental philosophy is a term used in philosophy to designate one of two major traditions of modern Western philosophy. ...

Contents

Taxonomy of philosophical problems

There are many kinds of philosophy, dependent on the numerous human cultures. What is not controversial are the general types of problems included in philosophy. The traditional branches of philosophy are: metaphysics (including ontology), epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, political philosophy, ethics and aesthetics. Applied philosophy, the philosophical critique of various social activities (such as religion) and intellectual pursuits (such as science, sociology), is a more recent addition to Philosophy. Philosopher and encyclopedist Mortimer Adler, however, excludes logic and includes all second-order problems (i.e. questions about various fields of study). Second-order problems are often found arranged under various branches of philosophy which start with the phrase "philosophy of...." Adler (1994) divides these second-order philosophical problems into two branches. The first branch addresses the objects of thought, such as Being, Cause, Change, Infinity, Fate, Love. The second branch addresses the subjects, or procedural domains, of thought, e.g. philosophy of religion, philosophy of history, philosophy of language, philosophy of science. Metaphilosophy also attempts to understand both branches of second-order thought aided by the other major branches, e.g. metaphysical knowledge in religion, epistemology in religion, axiology in religion. In any case, one problem in metaphilosophy is to provide such a taxonomy. Plato (Left) and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the ultimate nature of reality, being, and the world. ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... Theory of knowledge redirects here: for other uses, see theory of knowledge (disambiguation) According to Plato, knowledge is a subset of that which is both true and believed Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature, methods, limitations, and validity of knowledge and belief. ... A phrenological mapping of the brain. ... Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. ... Philosophical logic is the application of formal logical techniques to problems that concern philosophers. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... The Parthenons facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... A magnet levitating above a high-temperature superconductor demonstrates the Meissner effect. ... Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge [1]) is the systematic and scientific study of society, including patterns of social relationships, social action, and culture[2]. Areas studied in sociology can range from the analysis of brief contacts between anonymous... Mortimer Adler around 1963 Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American aristotelian philosopher and author. ... // An academic discipline, or field of study, is a branch of knowledge which is taught or researched at the college or university level. ... In ontology, a being is anything that can be said to be, either transcendantly or immanently. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Infinity (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Destiny (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Love (disambiguation). ... Philosophy of religion is the rational study of the meaning and justification ( or rebuttal) of fundamental religious claims, particularly about the nature and existence of God (or gods, or the divine). ... Philosophy of history or historiosophy is an area of philosophy concerning the eventual significance, if any, of human history. ... Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. ... Philosophy of science is the study of assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, especially in the natural sciences and social sciences. ...


Aims and nature of philosophy

An important question for metaphilosophy is "What is philosophy?", and because different philosophers have offered different answers - often implicitly, it is the task of meta-philosophy to adjudicate. Prior to adjudication, however, the metaphilosopher must identify, clarify, and understand the alternative conceptions of the nature of philosophy, as well as his available reasoning tools and their limits.


The task is made more difficult by the fact that the use and meaning of the word "philosophy" has changed throughout history: in Antiquity it encompassed almost any inquiry, for Descartes it was supposed to be the Queen of the Sciences (a sort of ultimate justification), in the time of David Hume "metaphysics" and "morals" could be roughly translated as the human sciences, while analytic philosophy likes to define itself roughly as inquiry into concepts. Antiquity means different things: Generally it means ancient history, and may be used of any period before the Middle Ages. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ...


Apart, perhaps, from the vague idea of philosophy as a 'general' discipline that has something to do with 'life' and especially with 'reasoning', few genuine properties shared by all philosophers can be found. But the ways in which different thinkers characterize philosophy can be important as a normative statement about how philosophy should be done. In philosophy, normative is usually contrasted with positive, descriptive or explanatory when describing types of theories, beliefs, or statements. ...


Empiricism or rationalism

One important distinction is between those philosophers that conceive philosophy as an empirical discipline (if not necessarily a science) and those who believe it is rather an a priori discipline not really concerned with empirical facts and not related to the sciences. A priori is originally a Latin phrase meaning from the former or from what comes before. However, several different uses of the term have developed in English: A priori (law) - adj. ...


The distinction is mostly applied to modern, not current, philosophy with people like John Locke, David Hume and Immanuel Kant on the empiricist side and mainly idealist philosophers such as Georg Hegel on the other. However, the distinction can be just as meaningfully applied to current philosophy. Analytical philosophers believe that all meaningful empirical questions are to be answered by science, not philosophy. Pragmatists and naturalistic epistemologists on the other hand think that philosophy should be linked to science and should be scientific in the broad sense of that term. For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... This article is about the philosopher. ... Kant redirects here. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... A term for a range of philosophical positions that link the concept of epistemology to natural science. ...


Theoretical or practical

Some philosophers (e.g. existentialists, pragmatists) think philosophy is ultimately a practical discipline that should help us lead meaningful lives by showing us who we are, how we relate to the world around us and what we should do. Others (e.g. analytic philosophers) see philosophy as a technical, formal and theoretical discipline. Note that both parties can be and are just as theoretical and abstract - they differ rather in their views on the function and subjects of that theory. Existentialism is the philosophical movement positing that individual human beings create the meaning and essence of their lives as persons. ... Pragmatism is a philosophic school that originated in the late nineteenth century with Charles Sanders Peirce, who first stated the pragmatic maxim. ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement of English-speaking countries. ...


Philosophical method

General methods

Stephen Toulmin (Knowing and Acting, 1976) defined three basic approaches to philosophy: Image File history File links Emblem-important. ...

  • the philosopher as geometer: centers on formal inquiry; thinkers from Plato to Frege.
  • the philosopher as anthropologist: tries to find the basics of human nature; thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith.
  • the philosopher as critic: investigates the a priori conditions on which e.g. knowledge can exist; Immanuel Kant.

Three main methods of philosophy have been the Ancient Greek, epistemic and linguistic approaches. The order written represents the historical progression of the conceptions of Philosophy. The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ... For the journal, see Linguistics (journal). ...


Typical of the phronesis-approach to philosophy were the thinkers Socrates and Epicurus. The questions of this form of Philosophy consist mainly of those relevant to the search for a happy life and the cultivation of the virtues, although political and religious philosophy is featured in recorded thinking. Phronesis is a term used by Aristotle in Nicomachean ethics to describe practical wisdom or the ability to act on what one knows are good for man. ... This page is about the Classical Greek philosopher. ... Epicure redirects here. ... Virtue (Greek αρετη; Latin virtus) is the habitual, well-established, readiness or diposition of mans powers directing them to some goodness of act. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual...


The epistemic approach centers upon the foundations of knowledge, in particular the debate between Rationalism and Empiricism. Typical of this era of speculation were Locke, Hume, Descartes, Jeremy Bentham and Immanuel Kant. Ethical philosophy developed from speculative psychology into a logical study of meta-ethics, while normative ethics showed signs of practical development towards social reform, notably under the prodigious lawyer and philosopher Jeremy Bentham. In epistemology and in its broadest sense, rationalism is any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification (Lacey 286). ... In philosophy generally, empiricism is a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. ... Locke is a common Western surname of English origin: John Locke, an English Enlightenment philosopher. ... This article is about the philosopher. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Jeremy Bentham (IPA: ) (26 February [O.S. 15 February 15] 1748) – June 6, 1832) was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. ... Kant redirects here. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ...


Linguistic philosophy is the most recent development. It is practised both as a form of epistemology (the relation between language and world, the "meaning of meaning") and as the study of concepts and ideas. In its pure form, the logical study of meaningful language (conceived as the prime philosophical endeavor) is in decline in many universities but it lives on as part of the analytic tradition. A.J. Ayer in his book Language, Truth and Logic sets two criteria for a definition of Philosophy. Firstly, the science must be a genuine branch of knowledge, and secondly it must bear relation to the realm of ideas and impressions commonly known as "Philosophy". In the aforementioned publication, Philosophy is (contentiously) defined as a wholly analytic task and as a compilation of "in-use" definitions. It is commonly suggested by this school that questions such as "What is Truth?" or more generally "What is x?" are requests for definitions rather than empirical facts. Alfred Jules Ayer (October 29, 1910 - June 27, 1989), better known as simply A. J. Ayer (and called Freddie by friends), was a British philosopher. ...


Rethinking Intuition

Recently, some philosophers have cast doubt about intuition as a basic tool in philosophical inquiry from Socrates up to contemporary philosophy of language. In Rethinking Intuition (ed. Michael R. Ramsey, William DePaul) various thinkers discard intuition as a valid source of knowledge and thereby the whole idea of an 'a priori' philosophy.


Computational philosophy

Computational means possible to implement and realize on computers. In the above context, we may construct several simplified artificial worlds with different ontologies and ethical systems, we can experiment with them and confront with the real world observations. This emergent research and scientific activity requires numerous meta-philosophical and meta-theoretical assumptions/propositions/axioms (see External links 2,3). This is also the domain of new computational philosophy and modern experimental philosophy This article is about the word proposition as it is used in logic, philosophy, and linguistics. ... This article is about a logical statement. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Various problems

Progress in philosophy

Whether or not there is progress in philosophy depends on one's assumptions about the nature of philosophy and the criteria of progress. Historical progress has been a main object of philosophy of history. ...


Metaphilosophical writings

Many philosophers have written on metaphilosophy. The tradition goes back to Plato, whose dialogues are directly concerned with ethics, but constantly raise questions concerning For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ...

  • the nature of philosophy and its methods (most explicitly addressed in the Meno)
  • the value and proper aims of philosophy (in the Apology, Gorgias, Protagoras, etc.)
  • the proper relationship between philosophical criticism and everyday life (a pervasive theme explored most famously in the Republic)

Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations directly address logic, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind, but the nature of philosophical puzzles and philosophical understanding is central to all of the discussions. Wittgenstein frequently diagnoses philosophical errors as involving confusions about the nature of philosophical inquiry. Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (IPA: ) (April 26, 1889 in Vienna, Austria – April 29, 1951 in Cambridge, England) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking ideas to philosophy, primarily in the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind. ... Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος logos; meaning word, thought, idea, argument, account, reason, or principle) is the study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. ... Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. ... A phrenological mapping of the brain. ...


C. D. Broad is known for distinguishing Critical from Speculative philosophy. See his "The Subject-matter of Philosophy, and its Relations to the special Sciences," in Introduction to Scientific Thought, 1923. Curt Ducasse, in Philosophy as a Science, examines several views of the nature of philosophy, and concludes that philosophy has a distinct subject matter: appraisals. Charlie Dunbar Broad (known as C. D. Broad) (30 December 1887 - 11 March 1971) was an English philosopher known for his thorough and objective analysis in works such as Scientific Thought (1930) and Examination of McTaggarts Philosophy (1933). ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Curt John Ducasse (July 7, 1881, Angoulême, France - September 3, 1969) was an American philosopher who taught at the University of Washington and Brown University. ... Appraisal is the act of estimating the monetary value of real, personal, or intangible property, usually performed as a service by someone recognized as an expert or certified by an organization or government agency. ...


Richard Rorty could be called a meta-philosopher, considering his many ideas about the nature of philosophy and the role of philosopher. Richard McKay Rorty (born October 4, 1931 in New York City, New York; died June 8, 2007) was an American philosopher. ...


One of the precursors of the cybernetic meta-philosophical relativisation of philosophical systems was the Polish science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem. Cybernetics is a theory of the communication and control of regulatory feedback. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ...


Henri Lefebvre in Metaphilosophie (1965) argued, from a marxian standpoint, in favor of an "ontological break", as a necessary methodological approach for critical social theory (whilst criticizing Louis Althusser's "epistemological break" with subjective marxism, which represented a fundamental theoretical tool for the school of marxist structuralism). Henri Lefebvre (16 June 1901 â€“ 29 June 1991) was a French sociologist, intellectual and philosopher who was generally considered a Neo-Marxist[1]. // Lefebvre was born in Hagetmau, Landes, France. ... Louis Pierre Althusser (Pronunciation: altuË¡seʁ) (October 16, 1918 – October 22, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ...


References

  • Adler, Mortimer (1994). The Four Dimensions of Philosophy. New York: MacMillan.
  • Rescher, Nicholas (2001). Philosophical Reasoning. A Study in the Methodology of Philosophizing. Blackwell.

Mortimer Adler around 1963 Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American aristotelian philosopher and author. ... Nicholas Rescher (born July 15, 1928 in Hagen, Germany) is an American philosopher, affiliated for many years with the University of Pittsburgh, where he is currently University Professor of Philosophy and Chairman of the Center for the Philosophy of Science. ...

See also

Categories: Pages needing attention | Stub | Ontology ... // Philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. ... Historical progress has been a main object of philosophy of history. ... Philosophical theories about the meaning of life // In that they attempt to answer the question What is valuable in life?, theories of value are theories of the meaning of life. ... A metatheory is a theory which concerns itself with another theory, or theories. ... Meta-knowledge or metaknowledge is possible to interpret as knowledge about knowledge. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
20th WCP: Metaphilosophical Pluralism and Paraconsistency: From Orientative To Multi-level Pluralism (4100 words)
And this is also the case for metaphilosophy; to put is bluntly, we are better placed today than the Greeks were to understand what philosophy is. Relying on such improved understanding, the further issue as to what contribution it makes to the education of humanity can be addressed.
Normative metaphilosophy, by contrast, is concerned with which are the appropriated problems, the justifiable thesis and the correct methods of philosophy.
Rescher's objection to syncretism in metaphilosophy stems from his belief that because of its readiness to embrace all different answers to a given question, it is bound to hold contradictory answers.
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