10

It seems like for anything (not literally, of course) 'philosophy name of this anything' exists. Philosophy of physics, philosophy of biology, philosophy of logic, etc.; but... philosophy of philosophy is nowhere to be found? Why is that?

I don't see a contradiction, and googling doesn't seem to help. In fact, Google only returns two results with 'philosophy of philosophy' in them, and they are both irrelevant.

Question: why doesn't philosophy of philosophy exist?

  • 1
    This google search (encrypted.google.com/#hl=en&q=philosophy+of+philosophy) for 'philosophy of philosophy' returns meta-philosophy as the first link? Perhaps the google results changed since you searched? It's actually an interesting example of where DuckDuckGo doesn't match up as that completely fails (duckduckgo.com/?q=philosophy+of+philosophy). However the DuckDuckGo one now picks up your question - so this question will be helpful :) – icc97 Jul 9 '16 at 23:39
  • A lot of modern philosophies are already self-referential. So the label for philosophy-of-philosophy may just be unproductive. We split the self-reference the other direction: vertically instead of horizontally -- analytic philosophy is wrapped around the logic of logic in the form of metamathematics, Nietzsche's 'beyond good and evil' is an ethics-of-ethics question, postmodernism is a narrative about our narratives about narratives, existentialism is largely a rational psychology of rational psychologies addressing why we bother to explain anything... – jobermark Jul 10 '16 at 1:10
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    So you say this doesn't exist? – M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Jul 10 '16 at 15:17
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    Cause philosophy of philosophy is philosophy – user22323 Jul 11 '16 at 6:04
  • What is the Philosophy of Philosophy of Philosophy of Philosophy of...?! Infinite Philosophy?! – Ab_Sh Jul 11 '16 at 9:42
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It exists. It is called meta-philosophy. It includes topics such as the definition and scope of philosophy, the methods of philosophy, and the role of philosophers.

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    Wow, breaking the nomenclature here. Learn something new everyday, I guess. Thank you very much for the answer. – Michael Smith Jul 9 '16 at 21:07
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Eh. That is still not a common word or theory. I think it is contrived.

A lot of modern philosophies are already self-referential metatheories. So the label for philosophy-of-philosophy may just be unproductive.

Historically, we tend to split the self-reference the other direction: vertically instead of horizontally.

  • 20th-century analytic philosophy is wrapped around the logic of logic in the form of metamathematics,
  • Nietzsche's 'beyond good and evil' ethics is an ethics-of-ethics question,
  • postmodernism is a narrative about our narratives about narratives,
  • existentialism is largely a rational psychology of rational psychologies addressing why we bother to explain anything.

So people are already doing meta-analysis, meta-ethics, meta-semiotics, meta-psychology... and they don't seem to feel that takes them out of their own branch of philosophy, much less into some separate place named meta-philosophy. It is awkward to snip out just the recursive parts of a given vertical, so we would have a hard time populating meta-philosophy that way. The result would not be a discipline, just a filter.

What is left would we whole philosophies, in the systematic sense of Aristotle, Kant, Spinoza etc. that are themselves recursive, and include other philosophies in their model of the world in an explicit way. That would be an insane demand, as it would require an ethics that applies to semiotics as well as ontology, a psychology that applies epistemology and ethics...

Labeling something does not make it happen, and choosing for your perspective to have a specific intention does not make it work. This is a term destined for the dustbin, for while it identifies a phenomenon, as a field of inquiry the result is either artificial, disconnected and disjointed; or it is empty.

  • I don't quite grasp the critique of meta-philosophy at the end. Is it possible for you to unpack it a little? (I suspect that most of the problem is just that we're steeped in different traditions and so what seems perfectly sensible to you is obscure to me -- and vice versa.) – Dennis Jul 10 '16 at 1:33
  • At least one person has flagged this as not an answer. I'm not sure why, but I'm passing that along. Maybe it could be slightly clearer on the non-productive point, but it doesn't seem problematic as written to me. – virmaior Jul 12 '16 at 0:02
  • @virmaior This is a long version of the short one also flagged. I think someone just does not like the position. It has support, but the supporters are already mentioned in the most easily accessed Google search for the terms. I am not a fan of delivering a list of names you could already easily have before reading the answer. I really think the last sentence clarifies 'unproductive'. – jobermark Jul 13 '16 at 15:55
  • Well, there's a thriving journal called "Metaphilosophy" that's 45+ years old. Metametaphysics in particular is a boom area right now. – ChristopherE Jul 25 '16 at 16:28
  • @ChristopherE But Metametaphysics is just that, a vertical within metaphysics, so breaking it out this way is just something between redundancy and window-dressing. It is a nice name, but it does not help. – jobermark Jul 25 '16 at 16:31
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The 'philosophy of philosophy' is to seek the truth within every sub-genre in the religio-philosophical realm.

The 'philosophy of meta-philosophy' is to seek the truth within the meta-philosophical issue arrayed before an individual for their analysis and review.

The 'infinite philosophy' is to seek the truth within this one life which you know is yours to live.

Therefore there is only one philosophy to pursue.

Seek Truth, assiduously, within every issue, of any kind, arrayed before you for your analysis and review.

In consequence, all Truth will become accessible to you.

That is the answer which you seek.

  • I highly doubt that this is the answer the OP seeks. – Eliran Jul 24 '16 at 19:12
  • Could you explain why you think that my answer is not what the OP seeks? And why would you ''highly doubt' it? – Stephen Kirby Jul 24 '16 at 19:14
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    Yes. This is the answer which he seeks: philosophy.stackexchange.com/a/36508/19563. – Eliran Jul 24 '16 at 19:16
  • Again, in your own words, why do you think that this is the only answer the OP seeks? – Stephen Kirby Jul 24 '16 at 19:17
  • @StephenKirby comments are not for arguing. Clearly you and Eliran disagree. It won't be the first or last time this happens to you on the internet. (Moreover, as written, your answer is not a good fit for the SE since while it's "philosophical" in the sophistical sense, it doesn't relate to the discipline of philosophy). – virmaior Jul 24 '16 at 23:13

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