Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Rawlsian definition of Philosophy

Toying with this idea, not prepared to offer it as something I believe at this time, but it's a direction:

A philosopher is someone engaged in a continual effort to build, disrupt, and adapt a reflective equilibrium, seeking new experiences and perspectives, attempting to reach broad principles through mediation of specifics, and continually testing those principles (and the systems built out of them) with new specifics.

The social practice of philosophy involves exposing these principles, the structures one builds with them, and the reasoning used in those structures, to the world so that other philosophers can consider, dispute, or be inspired by those constructs. The social practice of philosophy is essential for the humility of the philosopher; when one loses control of an idea because it has been copied into the head of another, one must admit when one adapts or gives up on it, and this is the necessary check of philosophers as being wrong on facts is the necessary check of scientists.

  • I'm not ready to adopt this because it might be too specific to certain kinds of philosophy, plus I'm not sure it adequately the times in philosophy where one must work with a narrow focus (working out the implications of something, or offering subtle refinements to an elaborate theory)
Tags: philosophy

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