Traditional methods for obtaining a description of the intellectual space of the discipline take the form of a less than a handful of philosophers testing each other's intuitions about ways to organize the content of the discipline. There are many reasons to be skeptical about this approach. First, there is the matter of individual bias; philosophers are likely to feel that the particular issues they work on are the most important. Second, the learning histories and intellectual trajectories which shape one's metaphilosophical standpoint are idiosyncratic and politically charged. Third, the expert's drive for simplicity and elegance comes at a cost: it may tempt philosophers to artificially impose a normalized structure on distant areas of philosophy. Fourth, once settled on an approach or a set of organizing principles, overconfidence and confirmation biases may set in, leading the philosopher to feel the chosen approach is appropriate in diverse settings. And finally , given the explosion in the number of significant philosophical publications mentioned in the introduction, it is unlikely that even a reasonably-sized subset of extremely well-read philosophers would be sufficiently qualified in all areas of philosophy to produce a thorough conceptualization.

« Challenges in traditional metaphilosophical investigations; individual biases and limitations »

A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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