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Encyclopedia > Pseudophilosophy
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The orthodox understanding of pseudophilosophy is any idea or system that masquerades itself as philosophy while significantly failing to meet some suitable intellectual standards. The term is frequently used pejoratively, and most applications of it are quite contentious. (The term non-philosophy is often taken to refer to similar areas, but with less negative connotations. As such, non-philosophy is a term used to refer to philosophy situated at the margins of the discipline in terms of subject-matter and its critical reception.) The term bears the same relationship to philosophy that pseudoscience bears to science. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... A word or phrase is pejorative if it implies contempt or disapproval. ... Non-philosophy is not an anti-philosophy or a post-philosophy but rather an autonomous theoretical discipline developed and refined in a series of works published by François Laruelle throughout the 1980s and 1990s. ... Phrenology is regarded today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ...


The term is often used more casually to express contempt, irritation, or just dislike toward some idea or system of ideas. It is not, for the most part, used technically within academic philosophy, though it is likely to occur in philosophers' judgments on larger aspects of culture, their advice to new students, their assessments of other disciplines, and so forth. For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ...


Nicholas Rescher, in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, defines pseudo-philosophy as "deliberations that masquerade as philosophical but are inept, incompetent, deficient in intellectual seriousness, and reflective of an insufficient commitment to the pursuit of truth." Rescher adds that the term is particularly appropriate when applied to "those who use the resources of reason to substantiate the claim that rationality is unachievable in matters of inquiry." 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 Philosophy of Science. ...

Contents

Some accusations of pseudophilosophy

Accusations of pseudophilosophy in academia

Academia has sometimes denied the title of "philosopher" to certain people. One must recall that philosophy has taken various institutional forms over the centuries, starting from the Epicurian' gardens and other Schools. It was only in Hegel's time that it started taking its modern, university form. Since Hegel, philosophy has thus been linked to the University, and mainly takes place within this institution. Therefore, books written outside the institution are denied the title of philosophy. The foundation of the International College of Philosophy in 1983 by Jacques Derrida, François Châtelet and others, specifically had the aim of creating a non-institutional place for philosophy, where new paths could be explored. The College was created "from a non-governmental origin, with an international span, an institution which is not destined to oppose itself, but to balance, question, open, occupy margins ; where we would privilege unfrequent approaches or yet unlegitimized by the university approaches, new objects, new themes, new fields; where we would treat more of intersections than of academic disciplines" [1] Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c340-c270 BC), founded around 307 BC. Epicurus was an atomic materialist, following in the steps of Democritus. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... For a list of universities around the world, see Lists of colleges and universities Representation of a university class, 1350s. ... The Collège International de Philosophie (Ciph), located in Paris Ve arrondissement, is an open university co-founded in 1983 by Jacques Derrida, François Châtelet, Jean-Pierre Faye and Dominique Lecourt in an attempt to re-think the teaching of philosophy in France, and to liberate it from... Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... François Châtelet (d. ...


Arthur Schopenhauer wrote the following about Hegel. Hegel is considered, along with Kant, Fichte and Schelling, as one of the greatest German philosophers of the Enlightenment: Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860, [1] IPA: ) was a German philosopher, often considered a pessimist. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [] (August 27, 1770 – November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 – February 12, 1804) was a Prussian philosopher, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 - January 27, 1814) has significance in the history of Western philosophy as one of the progenitors of German idealism and as a follower of Kant. ... Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (January 27, 1775 - August 20, 1854) was a German philosopher. ... The Age of Enlightenment (from the German word Aufklärung, meaning Enlightenment) refers to eighteenth century in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the seventeenth century and the Age of Reason. ...

If I were to say that the so-called philosophy of this fellow Hegel is a colossal piece of mystification which will yet provide posterity with an inexhaustible theme for laughter at our times, that it is a pseudophilosophy paralyzing all mental powers, stifling all real thinking, and, by the most outrageous misuse of language, putting in its place the hollowest, most senseless, thoughtless, and, as is confirmed by its success, most stupefying verbiage, I should be quite right.

– Arthur Schopenhauer, 'On the Basis of Morality', trans. E.F.J.Payne (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965), pp.15-16.

Schopenhauer's critiques of Hegel, Schelling, and Fichte are informed by his perception that their works use deliberately impressive but ultimately vacuous jargon and neologisms, and that they contained castles of abstraction that sounded impressive but ultimately contained no verifiable content. Søren Kierkegaard attacked Hegel in a similar manner, writing that it was pretentious for Hegel to title one of his books "Reality." To Kierkegaard, this indicated an attempt to quash critics even before criticism was voiced. Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (January 27, 1775 - August 20, 1854) was a German philosopher. ... Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 - January 27, 1814) has significance in the history of Western philosophy as one of the progenitors of German idealism and as a follower of Kant. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... A neologism (from Greek νεολογισμός νέος [neos] = new; λόγος [logos] = word) is a word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) — often to apply to new concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older terminology sound more contemporary. ... Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (IPA:  ; 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian, generally recognized as the first existentialist philosopher. ...


Despite these attacks, Hegel is widely considered one of the most influential writers in world history: the rigor of his philosophy notwithstanding, Hegel had a significant effect on the writings of subsequent philosophers, for example Marx. Hegel scholar Walter Kaufmann contends that Schopenhauer's attacks actually illuminate more about Schopenhauer than about Hegel. Marx is a common German surname. ... Walter Arnold Kaufmann (July 1, 1921 - September 4, 1980) was a 20th-century Jewish German philosopher, scholar, and poet. ...


More recently, accusations of pseudophilosophy have been made against Martin Heidegger, postmodernists, and certain late twentieth century french thinkers like Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan and Jean-François Lyotard by numerous philosophers in the tradition of analytic philosophy and some 'hard scientists' such as Alan Sokal who claim that these thinkers use of scientific concepts is lacking in rigor. W.V.O. Quine, along with Barry Smith, Hugh Mellor (then Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge), and various other academic philosophers, once wrote to protest Cambridge University's award of an honorary degree to Jacques Derrida, claiming that Derrida's work "does not meet accepted standards of clarity and rigor" and that it is made of "tricks and gimmicks similar to those of the Dadaists". Such attacks are usually considered as a sign of the breach between analytical and continental philosophy. Furthermore, while French reception of (Foucault, Althusser, Lacan, Deleuze, Derrida, etc.) considers their work to be within widely different fields and intellectual traditions, American critics have frequently responded to them as a homogenous body. The label of "structuralism" was denied by almost all of the so-called structuralists thinkers (Claude Lévi-Strauss, Lacan, Althusser, early Foucault), and the label of post-modernism was adopted by few of the movement's "founding fathers". Derrida would warn several times that the "deconstruction" of metaphysics didn't mean that "we didn't need metaphysics"; but we need to do something else, beside it: the deconstruction of metaphysics is not an abandonment of metaphysics. Martin Heidegger (September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) (pronounced ) was an influential German philosopher, best known as the author of Being and Time (1927). ... Postmodernism is an idea that has been extremely controversial and difficult to define among scholars, intellectuals, and historians, because the term implies to many that the modern historical period has passed. ... Jean Baudrillard (born June 20, 1929) (IPA pronunciation: ) is a cultural theorist, philosopher, political commentator, sociologist and photographer. ... Julia Kristeva (Bulgarian: ) (born 24 June 1941) is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, psychoanalyst, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. ... Jacques Lacan Jacques-Marie-Émile Lacan (April 13, 1901 – September 9, 1981) was a French psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and doctor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath... Alan David Sokal (born 1955) is a physicist at New York University. ... W. V. Quine Willard Van Orman Quine (June 25, 1908 - December 25, 2000) was one of the most influential American philosophers and logicians of the 20th century. ... Hugh Mellor (D. H. Mellor) is an Australian-born British philosopher. ... The University of Cambridge, located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, with a reputation as one of the worlds most prestigious universities. ... Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... Cover of the first edition of the publication, Dada. ... Structuralism is best known as a theory in the humanities. ... Claude Lévi-Strauss Claude Lévi-Strauss (IPA pronunciation ); born November 28, 1908) is a Jewish-French anthropologist who developed structuralism as a method of understanding human society and culture. ... Postmodernism (sometimes abbreviated pomo) is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. ...


Likewise, numerous philosophers in the tradition of analytic philosophy have been dismissed as pseudophilosophical by their peers in continental philosophy. For example, In "Signature, Event, Context", Jacques Derrida refers to John Searle's theory of speech acts as having "inherited from a certain Continental tradition...numerous gestures and a logic I try to deconstruct". He claims that Searle's ignorance of the history of philosophy in general and continental philosophy in particular has led to his "repeating its most problematic gesture, falling short of the most elementary critical questions..." [2] Similarly, Alain Badiou refers to analytic philosophy as "anglo-american linguistic sophistry", and claims that analytic philosophy of science relies wholly on untenable metaphysical presuppositions [3]. As could be expected, Analytic philosophers generally regard these critiques as misguided or ignorant. Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath... Continental philosophy is a term used in philosophy to designate one of two major traditions of modern Western philosophy. ... Jacques Derrida (July 15, 1930 – October 8, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher, known as the founder of deconstruction. ... John Rogers Searle (born July 31, 1932) is Mills Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, and is noted for contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and consciousness, on the characteristics of socially constructed versus physical realities, and on practical reason. ... Alain Badiou (born 1937, Rabat, Morocco) is a prominent French Left-wing philosopher, formerly chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS). ... Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical movement in University philosophy departments in English-speaking countries and in Scandinavia, although one of its founders, Gottlob Frege, was German, and many of its leading proponents, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Rudolf Carnap, Kurt Gödel, Karl Popper, Hans Reichenbach, Herbert Feigl, Otto Neurath... Philosophy of science studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of science, including the formal sciences, natural sciences, and social sciences. ...


Popular philosophy

Alfred Korzybski's theory of General Semantics has been given this appellation (also by Quine). The works of Albert Camus, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, have also been so named, in particular by Jean-Paul Sartre who claimed it was "philosophy for classe de terminale" (last class in high school before the Baccalauréat). Camus' works are generally considered as literature and not as philosophy, although they definitely posed some philosophical questions. Alfred Korzybski Alfred Korzybski was born on July 3, 1879 in Warsaw, Poland, and died on March 1, 1950 in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA. He is probably best-remembered for developing the theory of general semantics. ... General Semantics is a school of thought founded by Alfred Korzybski in about 1933 in response to his observations that most people had difficulty defining human and social discussions and problems and could almost never predictably resolve them into elements that were responsive to successful intervention or correction. ... Albert Camus (pronounced ) (November 7, 1913 – January 4, 1960) was an Algerian-French author and philosopher. ... The Nobel Prize in literature is awarded annually to an author from any country who has produced the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency. The work in this case generally refers to an authors work as a whole, not to any individual work, though individual works are sometimes... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ... For other uses of Baccalaureate, see Baccalaureate (disambiguation). ...


Ayn Rand's Objectivism is often cited as a pseudophilosophy, for several reasons. Many of her views are presented in her "romantic realist" novels, rather than in scholarly publications. In addition, Rand was self-taught, and consequently the philosophical issues that she discussed were out of sync with the research program of mainstream academic philosophy during the years she was active. Her grasp of the historical problems of philosophy is considered idiosyncratic in many ways – her proposed resolution of the problem of universals, for example, treated it as a question of epistemology although it has usually been taken as a question of metaphysics (though Rand notes this fact in her treatment of the problem). It has been suggested that The Ayn Rand Collective be merged into this article or section. ... Objectivism is a philosophy[1] developed by Ayn Rand that encompasses positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. ... The problem of universals is a phrase used to refer to a nest of intertwined problems about universals within the philosophy of language, cognitive psychology, epistemology, and ontology. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Plato and Aristotle (right), by Raphael (Stanza della Segnatura, Rome). ...


Furthermore, many of her supporters would not permit modifications or additions to her system of ideas, leading some to label Rand as a cult leader.[4] This article is becoming very long. ...


There have been few published reactions to Objectivism in academic journals. The most comprehensive academic criticism to date is "With Charity Towards None" by William F. O'Neill, published in 1971. However, academic work on Objectivism has grown in recent years: see Response to Objectivism for some examples. Objectivism is a philosophy[1] developed by Ayn Rand that encompasses positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. ...


The New Philosophers (Bernard-Henri Lévy, Alain Finkielkraut...) have been also accused to be a form of pseudo-philosophy, although some of their early work was academic. Gilles Deleuze particularly criticized the movement. Some have criticized them for reversing the classical model of the intellectual: while the intellectual uses his influence gained in his field for moral, politic purposes, and thus goes from his scientifical field to the public space, New Philosophers capitalize their legitimity on their appearance on TV talk shows and derived from there their scientific legitimity. They are not studied by philosophy students. The New Philosophers (French nouveaux philosophes) were a group of French philosophers (for example, André Glucksmann and Bernard Henri-Lévy) who appeared in the early 1970s, as critics of the previously-fashionable philosophers (roughly speaking, the post-structuralists). ... Bernard-Henri Lévy (born November 5, 1948 in Béni-Saf, Algeria) is a French philosopher, intellectual, and writer. ... Alain Finkielkraut (b. ... Gilles Deleuze (IPA: ), (January 18, 1925 – November 4, 1995) was a French philosopher of the late 20th century. ... An intellectual is a person who uses his or her intellect to work, study, reflect, speculate on, or ask and answer questions with regard to a variety of different ideas. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Gathering place. ... A talk show (U.S.) or chat show (Brit. ...


Existentialism has also been accused of being a pop philosophy, based on its passing popularity and lack of philosophical substance. Existentialism is a philosophical movement that deals with human freedom. ...


Prominent people in other spheres calling themselves philosophers

Frederick II of Prussia, is undisputably one of the greatest "artists of warfare" of all time. In the seven-year war he succeeded in defending his expanding Prussia against the combined forces of such great nations as Russia, Austria and France. He is often mentioned as the prime example of an enlightened despot. He was in close contact with Voltaire, who even spent a few years as Frederick's invited guest in Prussia. Frederick considered himself to be a philosopher in his own right. By academic philosophers he is not recognised to be a serious philosopher. Due to his influence on European political, economic and cultural history his opinions and ideas on philosophy were, and are, read and considered to a much greater extent than had been the case, if he had not been King of Prussia. Frederick II of Prussia (German: ; January 24, 1712 – August 17, 1786) of Hohenzollern dynasty, ruled the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. ... François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, deist and philosopher. ...


George Soros, an American Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist, has written several books and notwithstanding his impressive achievements in other fields is most flattered if someone calls him a philosopher as can be seen in this statement in his book "The Age of Fallibility: Consequence of the War on Terror": "I have developed a philosophy that has played a central role in my life. It has guided me in making money and spending it, although it is not about money. I know how important that philosophy is for me personally, but I am still in the process of finding out whether it can have a similar significance for others. That is my first priority..." Similar to Fredrick II of Prussia Soros is generally not considered to be a serious philosopher by academic philosophers. ...


Pseudophilosophy in popular culture

Other works that have been labelled as "pseudophilosophy" include the material in Richard Bach's fable Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Satanic Bible, James Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy and the novella The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Other New Age works are generally considered speculative or unanalytical by philosophers. Here, the label of pseudophilosophy is used to criticise these works as being conventional, sentimental, or platitudinous; and of lacking rigor, system, or analytical content. Richard David Bach (b. ... In its strict sense a fable is a short story or folk tale embodying a moral, which may be expressed explicitly at the end as a maxim. ... An illustration for the main theme of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. ... The Satanic Bible The Satanic Bible is a book written by Anton Szandor LaVey (11 April 1930 – 29 October 1997) in 1969. ... James Redfield (b. ... The Celestine Prophecy is a 1993 novel by James Redfield. ... A novella is a narrative work of prose fiction somewhat longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. ... Paulo Coelho (IPA: , born August 24, 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. ... New Age describes a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture. ...


Another cultural phenomenon that has been labelled pseudophilosophy is the form of philosophical skepticism that is the central premise of the motion picture The Matrix. This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... For other uses see film (disambiguation) Film refers to the celluliod media on which movies are printed Film — also called movies, the cinema, the silver screen, moving pictures, photoplays, picture shows, flicks, or motion pictures, — is a field that encompasses motion pictures as an art form or as... The Matrix is a science fiction/action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski and starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano and Hugo Weaving. ...


Special type of pseudophilosophy is mock philosophy, proposed as a mystification, just for fun, such as externism by Jára Cimrman in the Czech theatre play Akt (English The Nude). Jára Cimrmans self-bust Externism is a pseudo-philosophical theory proposed by the famous fictitious Czech genius Jára Cimrman in the theatre play Akt (English The Nude) by ZdenÄ›k SvÄ›rák, Ladislav Smoljak and Jiří Å ebánek. ... Jára Cimrmans self-bust with completely worn out features Jára Cimrman is a Czech fictional character created by Jiří Å ebánek and ZdenÄ›k SvÄ›rák. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


References

  1. ^ (French) Derrida: "d’origine non gouvernementale, à portée internationale, une institution qui n’est pas destinée à s’opposer, mais à équilibrer, à questionner, à ouvrir, à occuper les marges ; où l’on privilégie des approches peu fréquentes ou point encore légitimées dans l’université, de nouveaux objets, de nouveaux thèmes, de nouveaux champs ; où l’on traite des intersections plus que des disciplines académiques" Interview with Derrida
  2. ^ Derrida, Jacques "Signature, Event, Context" Northwestern University Press
  3. ^ Badiou, Alain "Being and Event" Continuum Press 2005 pp. 3-7
  4. ^ See, for example, Michael Shermer, Ayn Rand: The Unlikeliest Cult in History, originally appearing in Skeptic, vol. 2, no. 2, 1993, pp. 74-81

Michael Shermer Michael Shermer Ph. ...

See also

  • Emergent philosophy
  • Obscurantism - Philosophy against knowledge
  • Alfred Jarry's ’Pataphysics, a deliberate kind of "pseudophilosophy", or of philosophy presenting itself as "pseudophilosophy"
  • Cod philosophy

Obscurantism in its current usage can imply one of two separate concepts, sometimes distinguished by capitalization: // The older sense of the term Obscurantism refers to a class of philosophies that favor limits on the extension and dissemination of scientific knowledge, believing it to be the enemy of faith. ... Alfred Jarry Alfred Jarry (September 8, 1873 – November 1, 1907) was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France, not far from the border of Brittany; he was of Breton descent on his mothers side. ... Pataphysics, a term coined by the French writer Alfred Jarry, is a philosophy dedicated to studying what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics. ... Cod philosophy, sometimes cod-philosophy, is a term for the personal philosophy of the masses, or the philosophical musings of one who has not formally studied philosophy. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Pseudophilosophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1193 words)
The orthodox understanding of pseudophilosophy is any idea or system that masquerades itself as philosophy while significantly failing to meet some suitable intellectual standards.
Here, the label of pseudophilosophy is used to criticise these works as being conventional, sentimental, or platitudinous; and of lacking rigor, system, or analytical content.
Another cultural phenomenon that has been labelled pseudophilosophy is the form of philosophical skepticism that is the central premise of the motion picture The Matrix.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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