Surely not all thinking or intellectual effort is philosophy, right?
Where to draw line between philosophy and all other thinking?
What, if any, feature is present only in philosophy?
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Your question assumes that the word 'philosophy' is unambiguous and that philosophy is a field with clearly defined boundaries. Neither of those assumptions is valid. If we restrict ourselves to the idea of philosophy as being an academic field of study, we can say that it overlaps to different extents with many other areas of study, including, for example, physics, mathematics, biology, neuroscience, computing, linguistics, jurisprudence, economics and so on. The essential characteristics that are distinctive about philosophy, and not about other fields of study, is that philosophy is largely concerned with speculations about matters concerning knowledge per se, and how we acquire and use it, that cannot yet, or can never be, established practically.
I'm writing this from the perspective of someone who used to study and work in the context of academic philosophy for over a decade.
Philosophy means love of wisdom. In both western and eastern tradition, it originally was mainly about practice that can further insight, ie. the practice of contemplation/meditation in general and on what it means to do good/well in any human endeavour in particular.
In modern times, it generally turned into the inquiry into/analysis of the conceptual relations and logical dependencies in a given field of inquiry as well as checking the validity of the use of the concepts in use. In other words, it is a methodology.
Thus, philosophy uses language and existing knowledge and looks from there into the inner workings and outer relations of anything that is under philosophical scrutiny. The tools are logic, inference, argument, the goal is to further the understanding.
A good test is to see what the goal of a given author is. If it is solely stating something, or arguing against something, or trying to convince of something, it deserves the labels of rhetoric, polemic, sophistry. It becomes philosophy proper only if there is some level of intellectual engagement with different possible and existing positions (ie. a certain level of knowledge in the field should be reflected in the text/speech) and an intellectual process and candour to be seen. There should be the pursuit of the best possible answer to a question, ie. the starting point should never be an assertion/dogma/belief but an honest question.
To my reckoning, perhaps it's more accurate to say in my humble opinion, all the major branches of knowledge we have at present (science at the head of the pack) have philosophical roots.
Philosophy is more a method of study than a subject to study and so is universal in scope. There are certain standards one has to adhere to in philosophy, one of them is rationality and the other, as all of us have been reminded of politely and sometimes harshly, is clear language.
Method of Study (philosophy)
Therefore, each one has a different objective. On the one hand, science wants to explain what surrounds us, and it does so through its knowledge. For its part, philosophy knows what reality is like, but it is concerned with thinking about it.
Difference Between Science and Philosophy: Origin Philosophy has its origin in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. C. and, as many know, it was developed in Ancient Greece. Therefore, it could have something more than 2,500 years of life and that is a long time. Also, everyone knows great philosophers, like Plato or Socrates.
Regarding modern science as we know it today, it originated in the 17th century and its age is about 400 years. This makes it younger and therefore less mature. For this reason, philosophical principles can be useful to you.
Difference Between Science and Philosophy: One to One Let's take a closer look at some of the differences between the two. It must be taken into account that science is understood as a general concept and we do not focus on anyone in particular.
I am a computational scientist. I am currently drafting a review paper that has the provisional title "Musings of a Computational Philosopher" For the purposes of that paper I define philosophy as the asking of good questions, to which you may or may not know the answers. I think it was Bertrand Russel who complained that it was tough to be a philosopher, because as soon as your question got answered it became part of Physics.
Philosophy is a linguistically developed form of disagreement, possibly modeled on courts of law.
It requires opposed definitions by at least two interlocutors who share roughly the same "knowledge," linguistic rules, and locutionary status, but disagree on "meaning," which Luhmann neatly defines as the relation of actual to possible. Not simply the actual.
The locutionary status must be one of "friendship," to adopt the term used by Deleuze and Guattari and implied in Socratic dialogue. In other words, there must be a purposeful exchange, but an absence of coercion, command, dishonesty, particularity, and material interest. There must be a formal interest in true agreement, which is not the case, for example, in the courts of law or the market.
Thus, paradoxically, the disagreement must be elaborated on the premise of possible agreement. Yet to the extent that agreement is actually achieved the exchange ceases to be philosophy. To the extent that physics, for example, agrees upon its terms of validation and arrives at such validation it ceases to be philosophy and becomes a useful method of arriving at provisional agreement and knowledge.
This is why, as the other answers make abundantly clear, philosophers can never arrive at any agreed upon definition of philosophy, by definition, as it were. Philosophy may be instructive and assist in disclosures of knowledge, but it is less like science than like a highly suspenseful, unending detective story, a meaningful and permanent suspension of the truth.
Of course, there are many styles and rules to this form of reasoning or "giving reasons," as Rorty says. There is also, strangest of all, a cumulative forward progress. But not towards definition. It is a kind of organic growth, best captured in the voluptuous involutions of Hegelian dialectic, in my view.
Because of this organicism, philosophy cannot readily "disprove" old lines of argument. And this is why philosophers will generally agree that to do philosophy one must engage with other philosophers, living and dead, opening up the disagreement to redescription, if not falsifiability. Though Marx, for example, may be a philosopher (of philosophy), he ceases to be that when his arguments disengage from other philosophers to engage with "economists."
This is a highly circular description, of course. But it is necessary to prevent definition, closure, and death and to keep reason itself alive in the face of brutal authority, somewhat in the coy, infuriating manner of Scheherazade. Montaigne remarked that the only thing he could not bear was agreement, and I suspect most philosophers would agree with that.
This is an interesting question and I think it's easier to flip it around and ask what makes something not-philosophy. We don't call carpentry or structural engineering 'philosophies'. We don't have a 'philosophy of flight' (things can fly, or they can't). We don't call a theory of physics (e.g. General Relativity) a philosophy.
We do, though, have philosophy of physics (which I find highly entertaining and interesting.) It's not about what the rules of physics are but rather what they mean.
So, I'll propose that for something to be considered not-philosophy, it must have some direct manifestation in reality. For example, if you believe a 'philosophy of eating' which claims it is unnecessary, there are direct consequences that we can observe by you following that. Alternately, you can believe a philosophy of quantum mechanics that states there are branching realities and I can believe that superpositions (for example) are simply part of our (singular) reality. Our opposing beliefs don't change anything about the results of experiments and until some experiment or other proof is shown that one (or both) are incorrect (in reality) they remain in the realm of philosophy.
I am aware that the concept of 'reality' is a philosophical question in itself, but this appears to me to be the practical contemporary distinction.
One of the simplest questions one can ask when beginning is 'What is philosophy?'. If there is 'philosophy', and not everything is 'philosophy', then there is 'non-philosophy'. Then the question becomes 'how do we discriminate between philosophy and non-philosophy'? All great questions. Let's provide a quick response to set you up for answering the question yourself.
How To Distinguish Between Philosophy And Non-Philosophy?
The TLDR is much like the question of what demarcates the sciences from the pseudosciences, the question of demarcation between philosophy and non-philosophy doesn't have a simple answer. This is because the question of what philosophy is, is itself up for debate among philosophers, and any one who is convinced they know what philosophy is exactly probably lacks critical thinking skills. Those who do have good critical thinking skills find themselves engaged in metaphilosophy (IEP). To wit:
What is philosophy? What is philosophy for? How should philosophy be done? These are metaphilosophical questions, metaphilosophy being the study of the nature of philosophy. Contemporary metaphilosophies within the Western philosophical tradition can be divided, rather roughly, according to whether they are associated with (1) Analytic philosophy, (2) Pragmatist philosophy, or (3) Continental philosophy.
This classification isn't canon. And these are contemporaneous positions. For instance, a number of the Ancient Greeks simply pursued eudaimonia which might be characterized as the pursuit of goodness with reason. Sometimes you'll hear this referred to as philosophy with a capital P. Another example of a tradition of philosophical thinking is process philosophy (SEP), which if the article's author is to believed has essential three tasks according to the tradition.
Thus, before one can even discriminate between philosophical and non-philosophical thinking, one has to determine what philosophical thinking entails. Today, one generally hears that philosophy is composed of several major domains: aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, though these terms are highly interrelated. Understanding their broad natures is a good start to deciding what is philosophy and what is not.
Furthermore, can ontological and epistemological questions be applied to any domain? Most philosophers seem to concede the point. This gives rise to a great number of philosophies-of. For example:
ad nauseum! While there's a lot of disagreement over what exactly is philosophy one can wade into the question by weighing famous philosophers on the matter. For instance, Deleuze and Guattari were French thinkers who tackled the question in their What is Philosophy?. There seems to be broad consensus that leads to an essentialist definition, like the one offered by MW. And if you look at what universities teach, you'll get a better sense of what common topics are. Surely logic and reason are central to any method, and a familiar with ideas and concepts (which themselves open to ontological interpretation).
So the simple answer is, even armed with a good notion of what philosophy is, distinguishing between the philosophical and non-philosophical is tough and open to interpretation. Where does the philosophy of psychology end and psychology proper begin? My advice is you best get comfortable with vague predicates and free yourself from the tyranny of exclusions in categorization.
Philosophy is observation. Just look at whats there. Analyze it.
Science is more than that. In science you do more than "idle" observation. You try to repeat occurance of what you have seen happening. You even try to make novel things happen which are never seen happening.
Poetry is fundamentally same as philosophy. Poet take a very close look at things and either explain what he has seen or make a general comment / make a theory about what he has seen.
The same can be asked about parts of philosophy: what is metaphysics? for example, which claims are claims in metaphysics and which are not? Note, that this has also changed over time. Modern philosophers in metaphysics handle more questions than their Ancient or Medieval counterparts used to. See https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/. So defining philosophy is going to be hard, if even its parts are changing over time.
Philosophy gathers many specialities and each specialities may be different but concerning ethics and moral philosophy, the purpose is the following.
Philosophy's main purpose is to challenge human's will and understand how individual build his thinking. Philosopher believes that individual's represention affect individual's life. Due to that belief, philosopher trys to find and explains individual's activities objectivly by assessing the individual's bias of thinking. Philosophy is also a tool design to understand how individuals influence society . Philosophy , due to his specific process of argumentation and information source, cant be assimilated to opinion which is primary lead by pleasure. Philosophy have to be distinguish from psychology which is focus on individual's behaviour ruled by fact and event where philosophy's is focus on individual's representation ruled by concept and schema.