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09/06/2012

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Kyle Whyte

This is a good, but tough topic. One thought experiment to do is this: what is the difference between 1-4, in terms of what philosophers do, and 1-4 in terms of what scholars of the history of ideas do?

Brad Cokelet

I would say that philosophers are mainly concerned with clarifying and justifying our ways of thinking about various topics, and that this leads them to care more than others about making and explicating distinctions (to avoid confusion) and evaluating pro and con arguments (to demonstrate justification). Does that provide a way to demarcate our discipline?

Mark Alfano

I'm in complete agreement with Novaes. Perhaps the degree of mingling should depend on which subfield of philosophy you're in, with fields like philosophy of biology and moral psychology on one end and logic on the other, but since the world is not demarcated into disciplines, it makes sense that our knowledge of it can't be either.

Kyle Whyte

One distinction about the relations between disciplines has to do with the impact on philosophy of collaboration. When philosophers mingle with other disciplines, do they just use the findings and tools of other disciplines to bolster certain reasons that are part of philosophical arguments, provide case study material for philosophical work? Or does the mingling influence the methods philosophers use, changing those methods?

Moti Mizrahi

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

I am sympathetic to the idea that there are no boundaries between disciplines. But then the call for collaboration seems to make less sense, unless the boundaries are artificially imposed (by whom?).

I am not sure about the idea that philosophers are concerned with methodology, more so than practitioners in other disciplines. Papers published in science journals usually have a section discussing methodology.

There is an interesting exchange between Novaes and Brogaard at NewAPPS that might be of interest: http://www.newappsblog.com/2012/09/a-dialogue-with-catarina-dutilh-novaes-and-berit-brogaard-on-co-authoring-papers-in-philosophy.html

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