Taking issue with Wikipedia’s definition of philosophy

I got a rant or two about the definition of Philosophy on wikipedia. It states:

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.

To me, philosophy is the thinking and theorizing process that exist before and between actions for the purpose of discovering truth and what to do with it. All established academic disciplines, economics, physics and everything else were all initially the subject of philosopher’s contemplation. Philosophers thought about them until they convince themselves to move beyond thinking up theories to understand those subjects and onto actually proving their theories, with scientific methods developed by other philosophers. Where scientific method can be effectively applied to prove theories about the subject, advanced theories are able to be built on proven theories which can then proven by further application of scientific methods. Thus a loop is form and study of those subject become highly specialized giving birth to disciplines. Philosophers who become specialized in a particular discipline are then given name associated with their discipline, such as economist and physicist. Disciplines where scientific method are more applicable are grouped together under the broader label of science. The people who study a science discipline are brought under the broader label of scientist. These scientist are still philosophers who engage in philosophical theorizing between acts of proving their theories with scientific methods.

Subjects where the scientific method cannot be effectively applied, never got developed too far from the initial spark of thought about them. It only seems like philosophers only study general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language because understanding of them remains primitive (with all due respect); and philosophers who study specialized and advanced subjects are given broadly recognizable new labels.

Having already go on too long on the first sentence of wikipedia’s definition, let me just quickly end my rant with the second sentence by saying this: Philosophical thinking usually involve critical, generally systematic approach and rational argument because they are usually the best when one try to think about truth and what to do about truth. Philosophy is not distinguished by its method, but by its intended goal and its limitation to thought. Get it right Wikipedia.

ps. i know what you are thinking. you are thinking “its a wiki, if you are not happy about it, go fix it yourself, you pompous prick”. Yeah yeah, i know.


3 thoughts on “Taking issue with Wikipedia’s definition of philosophy

  1. You provide a very intellect insight. Some scientists just don’t realize the things you are talking. That’s why they usually do meaningless experiments.

  2. First let me paraphrase, you think essentially that philosophy turned into science, and that unanswerable questions are not science and therefore not philosophy? Forgive me, but I think you have a naive view of both science and philosophy.

    Science does attempt to understand the world solely by asking questions which are answerable. it attempts to operate objectively, completly rational, and explicit, with measurable data. The philosophy of science is the assumptions which are made prior and during investigation, the criteria for distinguishing between results, and between theories, the definitions and implicit context, the criteria of determining the answerability of a question, the ethical implications of results, and the faults of any given experiment.

    Everything has a philosophy, because everything has implicit assumptions. Choosing among assumptions is always arbitrary, even in science. For instance dark energy is an interpretation of galactic redshift which assumes speed of light as a constant, which may or may not be accurate.

    Philosophy is thinking about thinking. Science has gathered the data. How do we set about trying to understand it?

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