If Philosophy is a broad subject, and each and everyone of us have different beliefs, perspective, how do you guys actually deem an "answer" the right one in this site?

Is it because what the "right" answer consists of a perspective same/similar/close to the topic at hand, and then being deemed as the "right" answer by the person who asked the question?

I'm mainly asking about this site, but this goes to every argument/discussion about Philosophy, as I'd like to believe.

[Edit]: I asked mainly because of how to get the "right" answer in Philosophy, and partly because I find it impossible to answer a topic here without using my own thoughts and opinion on it.

  • resources like this may help you: some arguments are better than others! not sure why the question was downvoted given that it hasn't appeared here before. it's a totally sensible question for someone interested in philosophy, even though it might not involve much study to ask it
    – confused
    Nov 14, 2018 at 7:52

3 Answers 3


There are right answers and wrong answers and all shades in between. Because philosophers are often unable to tell them apart there is a view that philosophy is a matter of opinion but this is not the case. There cannot be two correct but incompatible metaphysical theories.

You ask how to arrive at the 'right' answers. This can be done by logical analysis. If you throw out ideas that are logically flawed and keep those that aren't you should be fine. Most philosophers do not do this but tend to hang on to ideas they like even where they give rise to contradictions. If you avoid this approach and put your faith in logic you should arrive at correct answers or at least not arrive at incorrect ones.

The difficulty in philosophy is that often the results we arrive by analysis are correct but very difficult to understand. Thus even where our approach is strictly 'mathematical' and dispassionate we may still disagree over the interpretation of our results. Douglas Adams' joke about the answer to life, the universe and everything' being '42' is a comment on the answers we tend to get from metaphysics. We do get clear answers from analysis but they can be challenging and their interpretation is not a simple matter of analysis.

For instance, Carnap views the undecidability of metaphysical problems as the motivation for logical positivism, Priest as the motivation for dialethism while others see it as a proof of non-dualism. It's a correct logical result but it leaves open various responses and the arguments continue despite a shared agreement over logical results.

  • your answer is meandering and not referenced, but it seems that the asked found it helpful, so that's good. btw, i would like you to point out where i am saying that something has "reality" here but can't comment there
    – confused
    Nov 14, 2018 at 9:11
  • @confused - Even now I'm unable to think of any useful references or see what purpose they might serve. This could be lack of imagination. My other comment seems okay. Sorry if it offended but it seems to be relevant and worth saying. . .
    – user20253
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:22
  • not offended no, just annoyed. if you're going to leave a comment i would prefer if you didn't just make up something about what you're commenting on.
    – confused
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:52
  • @confused - Now it's me who's confused. Whatever have I said to annoy you?
    – user20253
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:55
  • i meant that if you leave a comment under a question that misreads the question into saying something obviously wrong, then it's annoying. it's not personal, but in this instance i reread the question and had no idea why you assumed it
    – confused
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:56

In my experience this is an attitude that will get you failed from philosophy classes!

I don't mean that derogatorily, I had that attitude, and found it impossible to understand what my professors, and peers, were saying. It may be that you have enough wit and so on to work out what anyone means and why they're saying it, and think there's no right answer, with sheer brute rhetorical wit etc., and good luck if so. It may help to assume that most arguments have different assumptions, often held as foundational, or at least intuitively, and that argument usually has to go from there. That may be the motivation for some forms of philosophical pragmatism, such as Rorty's (a major philosopher that died relatively recently).

In a broader philosophical sense you seem to be advocating philosophical relativism about all truth, at least all philosophical truth. The former is a very unpopular position with philosophers, if only because some things are reliable, what time does the sun rise, and others also demonstratively true, Socrates is mortal (that the latter is also reliable totally blew my mind!).

You could look into at least early Wittgenstein if you feel that philosophy has nothing (at all?) to add to anything anyone says.

  • if my answer doesn't work for you at all then please leave a comment, i can edit! something more in depth than wiki on foundations here
    – confused
    Nov 13, 2018 at 8:55

In general philosophers do not agree. Not even on what 'truth'/("right") is, or how one would go about obtaining it. Naturally on a Philosophy site, you can expect 'correct' answers from many perspectives, even some that are contradictory.

I believe the metric a question poster uses would be 'understanding', i.e. does the answer provide better comprehension of the question, philosopher or their position.

In regards your concern for using your own opinion, you might find something useful here: Can you adequately discuss Philosophy, without _doing_ philosophy?

  • if the first paragraph is true, philosophy.SE shouldn't exist. But you're kind of contradicting that in the second paragraph. An important distinction is that the answers to philosophical questions are highly debatable but questions about philosophy are often answerable objectively.
    – virmaior
    Nov 13, 2018 at 9:37
  • @virmaior If you can accept paragraph two, then paragraph one does make sense. I agree that "questions about philosophy are often answerable objectively", but only from the perspective of a particular school of thought.
    – christo183
    Nov 13, 2018 at 11:57
  • I think you're confusing the distinction I'm raising then. A question about Augustine's theory of free will is answerable and most experts would agree on the broad contours of the answer. A question "are we free?" is by contrast unanswerable in this format.
    – virmaior
    Nov 13, 2018 at 12:15
  • That most questions here on philosophy.SE are confused in goals doesn't mean questions about philosophy are unanswerable.
    – virmaior
    Nov 13, 2018 at 12:16
  • @virmaior Fair enough, the distinction: "most experts", would yield normative answers. Yet, I still can't think of a question with a universally "right" answer.
    – christo183
    Nov 13, 2018 at 12:24

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