I do this often. I use the word "philosophy" to indicate I am talking about the way I think. I use it to indicate my own personal beliefs and conclusions about the world. It is in a sense a disclaimer at times as, "In my philosophy...", or, "My philosophy is...". In a way I am warning people to take what I am about to say as "something to think about", rather than fact. It might be true and I think it is. I can't prove it to you, maybe it can't be proven, there is evidence though. Another phrase I like to use is, "Philosophically speaking...". Does anyone else do this sort of thing? Is there a better way to start such a statement, in particular with someone who does not study philosophy? What tags should I include for this question?

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    I think this question is sort of a a borderline case because on the one hand yes it is asking about how to use a word but on the other hand it is explicitly a question about philosophy. Either way, this is the second time within a month this question has been brought up so I don't think it should be closed again. Obviously people are coming to phil.SE to ask it because its a question about philosophy so if it is off topic it should be migrated instead of closed so that people who search for it on this site will be redirected to the question instead of asking it here again. – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 19:19
  • I think you're severely overthinking this. Look at the definitions I listed, specifically 1, 5, and 6 and then ask yourself "are all world views a philosophy?" – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 23:08
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    Not necessarily, overthinking means spending lots of time on a minute detail that isn't important. The question of "what constitutes good philosophy" is a very good question. But a semantic question like "does this one thing line up with the dictionary definition of philosophy" isn't as productive to think about. "Overthinking" is inherently a bad way to think. "Thinking about something too much or for too long" isn't philosophically productive if its excessive and unnecessary. – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 23:50
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    seems to be looking for an answer about word usage in the English language... which is directly on-topic at English.SE. What is the question about philosophy (rather than the word "philosophy" in common English usage)? – virmaior Mar 23 '17 at 23:21
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    @takintoolong what I would suggest moving forward is to think about asking a question more so along the lines of "how do philosophers know when something is 'good' or 'bad' philosophy." Or even something like "when is something considered to be philosophy? What standards existed throughout history and how have they evolved?" Something like that is much more on topic. I understand that what you want to know is a lot more intricate than "how should I use the word philosophy" but I have to agree now that this question seems more so to be an English question. – Not_Here Mar 23 '17 at 23:46

This is a copy and paste from an answer to a similar question that was deleted; the question was "what is the relationship between "philosopher" and "philosophy", specifically in regards to a sentence such as "Maybe it doesn't matter but the philosopher in me wants to know."

Sometimes words are used in non literal ways in casual speech. It is common for people to say something like "my general philosophy about money is to only spend it when I'm happy." In this example they aren't using "philosophy" to mean the actual academic philosophical study of economics and money; they are using philosophy to mean "a general set of rules I follow about the subject." Similarly, if someone says "the philosopher in my is curious about it," they mean that there's some sense of curiosity inside of them that wants to know the answer. That's different than a formal philosopher asking a question about, say, the ontological status of knowledge.

In popular culture "philosopher" and "philosophy" are used to mean "someone who questions things past a surface level or is otherwise generally curious" and "a general set of rules or perspectives on a subject," respectively. These uses of the words are different than the actual terms used in philosophical discourse.

If something happens, say someone has money stolen from them and they say to their friend "I need to find out who stole the money and why, it's the philosopher in me," they are not using philosopher in the literal, well defined, academic sense. They are using it in an informal, casual conversational sense.

In particular, look at these dictionary entries for philosophy:

  1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

  2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.

  3. a particular system of thought based on such study or investigation: the philosophy of Spinoza.

  4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.

  5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

  6. an attitude of rationality, patience, composure, and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.

Notice the difference between 1, 2, 3, and 4 when compared to 5 and 6. Yes it is common to use the word "philosophy" in a non strict sense that isn't referring to the academic discipline.

As an example to illustrate the difference between 1 and 6:

Personally, I am a physicalist as well as a scientific realist in regards to metaphysics, I am a logicist when it comes to the philosophy of mathematics and I'm an epistemic realist. But, none of those ideas are unique to me. You wouldn't say, using the 3rd definition, that "physicalism is the philosophy of Not_Here" because I didn't invent physicalism, I haven't contributed major theories to physicalism, etc. You would use it in the 1st definition to say that "the philosophy of Not_Here includes physicalism and logicism" because its describing my specific philosophical beliefs. That is completely different than the 3rd definition which describes the unique ideas philosophers have contributed to discussions and the study of those systems of ideas that were unique to them.

  • I am referring to number 3 and claiming ownership of my philosophy. So, "the philosophy of takintoolong". I do my own philosophizing which at times is composed of others philosophy and claim ownership of the resulting composite. Is that acceptable in the philosophy community? – takintoolong Mar 22 '17 at 19:19
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    @takintoolong I mean, yes it is common for established philosophers to have something like "Wittgenstein's philosophy of language" or "the philosophy of Kant" spoken but that's not something you say about every single philosopher. If Professor Jeff has written a few papers about ethics, nobody would refer to "The philosophy of Jeff" but it's still technically "his philosophy". The other thing you need to be careful of is a lot of ideas that you might think are unique to you are not unique. Claiming that "these are my ideas and make up my philosophy" when they're common ideas that you are – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 19:31
  • not giving the proper credit to other thinkers before you is not accepted in any sort of academic community. In terms of the 3rd definition, "the philosophy of Spinoza" is not just the list of ideas Spinoza had, its the entire study of his work, all of the papers that have been written about it as well. The 3rd definition doesn't apply to the average person who just thinks or occasionally writes about philosophy, unless those ideas changed the subject as a whole. – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 19:34
  • I think you're probably over thinking this. The use you are giving as an example is just the 1st definition, "my rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct." The 3rd definition is a lot more specific and has to do with academic disciplines. – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 19:36
  • @takintoolong hopefully my recent edit helps clear it up. The answer to your question, at any rate, is "yes" it is okay to use the word philosophy to describe your own set of ideas. But that is a different use of the word than the use describing the unique ideas in philosophy that you have contributed (the difference between 1 and 3). – Not_Here Mar 22 '17 at 19:50

It is orthodox to use 'philosophy' as a noun in this way. I think you're right to use it to refer to a conjectural view. Where it is more than a theoretical framework it can be called a 'world-view'.

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