Is philosophical discourse about the pursuit of wisdom? What principles are involved?

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    If the answer is a yes or no, then the question certainly was not very philosophical. Also, are you asking about this site or philosophy as such?
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 11:12
  • Does this answer your question? Which field is more rigorous, mathematics or philosophy? Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 11:24
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    Sometimes. But good phil increases our understanding. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 11:24
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    Overly brief answers can be imprecise or unclear, and there could be important caveats or clarifications. And every field tends to have it's own terminology, which can make it hard for outsiders to understand. Then again, some people seem to use big words and intricate logic for what could be expressed much more simply (and it's not uncommon for this to obscure the fact that their ideas just aren't very good).
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 19:38
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    It's understandable to want to reword a question after it has been closed, but when any such changes are as substantial as they are here, they render previous answers and comments close to redundant. It is probably better to create a fresh question, so that new viewers aren't confused by the incongruity. Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 12:46

2 Answers 2



Much philosophical writing is bloated, overblown, ridiculously obscure and of no practical value, but you will not find any of those words in a dictionary definition of pedantry.

Pedantry is undue concern for petty details. Details need not be petty, and a concern for them need not be undue. Countless tiny details are assessed in brain surgery, for example, which you would not describe as an exercise in pedantry.

Personal footnote. The gratuitously impenetrable ramblings of some philosophers drives me effing nuts, and I have no idea why so much of it isn't just binned as nonsense, but please don't tell anyone or my name will be even more mud than it currently is.

  • Thanks for your honesty. I have binned a lot of nonsense in my time.
    – Meanach
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:51
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    While a PhD student philosophy, it drives me nuts as well. My enjoyment of philosophy is in spite of the terrible writing styles, not because of it.
    – Hokon
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 17:20
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    @hokon and Meanach, that's lovely feedback, thanks. Perhaps we should start a campaign to rid the world of pretentious writing! All the best. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 19:07

Demarcation, investigating definitions and exploring the nature of boundaries between disciplines, are core concerns of philosophy. That can seem superficially like pedantry, but the aim is different. In philosophy we do not aim simply to hold texts or arguments to established standards, like say a grammar guide. But instead to work out what are good standards to have, towards establishing clear thinking and argument. See discussion here: Why is it so hard to give a good definition of philosophy?

And philosophy as the field of cultivating wisdom, which is to say good decision making, versus analysis as the role of science: Wisdom and John Vervaeke's awakening from the meaning crises?

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    Even our standards have standards.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 12:20
  • I am a scientist. We do more than analyse.
    – Meanach
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 16:30
  • @Meanach: Did you read the link? Take climate change, science informs with analysis, the decision making remains outside. By all means give your account, eg answering 'Can one speak unambiguously of "the" scientific method?' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/31942/…
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 23:38
  • Interesting, thank you. The scientific method has utility. Scientists are generally satisfied with this. There are major problems like attachment to useless paradigms. Having been a research scientist for decades, I am aware that scientists analyse and interpret. We also make the scientific agenda. Having also been a politician for a decade, I am aware that most politicians are scientifically illiterate. In my view, philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom. Wisdom requires parsimony, thus my revised question.
    – Meanach
    Commented Nov 2, 2023 at 9:38

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