I mean, I imagine philosophy as: "given a model (which could be a model of the reality) and some rules (rule could be the one by rationality) try to make inference on the rules to get other rules"

Could it be a not completely wrong definition?

  • 2
    I do not think so ... You can try with some brief introductory book, like : Edward Craig, Philosophy : A Very Short Introduction (2002). The aim of philosophical enquiry seems to me a way of addressing (some) foundamental problems and issues... Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 15:54
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    X is not necessarily Y is an extremely broad category. If there exists at least one philosophy that does not "connect" to the real world, then the claim is true ...
    – virmaior
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 2:33

3 Answers 3


Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. -Wikipedia

Philosophy is big field. For example, Math can be viewed as applied philosophy.

To answer your question, a philosophy question does not need to connected with "the real world." It could be completely experimental. It could be just a thought experiment. It could also be an extremely logical argument that has everything to do with "the real world,"


What you are questioning is the classical 'ontic vs epistemic' problem.

There always exists gap between the epistemic definitions of world and the 'real' version of the world.


IMO, the above both are kind of related, for we have two issues here:

  • how much can be known?
  • how much of the known can be quantized / expressed?

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle comes close to expressing the 'how much can be known' limitation in mathematical form, as one example.

As for the 'how much of the known can be quantified / expressed / conveyed', we have two issues again:

  • the limitation of representation
  • the limitation of expression / conveyance the representation carries

Godel's incompleteness theorem is a close example that demonstrates the 'limitation of representation', which is well studied and mathematized.

The other part 'limitation of expression' still needs a strong research further, but thought experiments and other observations are all around us.

Bennett's argument to Maxwell's demon is one such that comes close to this problem of 'limitation of expression', and other example subjects that come close to this are: irrational numbers, kolmogorov complexity.

Further research in future on these all indicated areas could provide more insights, perhaps.

  • I think your question is really great for who is already studying psychology, but for me is really complex to understand.
    – Revious
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 7:05

Slavoj Zizek raises the same question (To himself) in Event: Philosophy in Transit at the beginning of the first chapter. I'll just tear out a small part (Because I have to type it)

Is philosophy really a mere theatre of shadows?... What if its power resides in its very withdrawal from direct engagement?

So, on one hand it is disengaged from real life. But it is that same property which connects it back to real life.

  • Can you explain better the last sentence?
    – Revious
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 7:59
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    @Revious: To understand something, you need to abstract. The power of abstract understanding drives our real lives. From what we do at work to our relationships. The proper human action is to embrace this disengagement, not shy away from it. This is how we relate to real life anyway. So, as far as I understand, even in "authentic", "real" engagement, there is abstraction at work. What if Plato was right and concepts are more "real" than imperfect instances of these concepts? In short, what is "real life" itself?
    – nakiya
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 8:15

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