Monday, October 22, 2012

Freddoso on Philosophical Problems

Alfred Freddoso, in "Oh My Soul, There’s Animals and Animals" (PDF):

The history of philosophy teaches us that the way in which important philosophical problems are formulated is highly contingent and deserving of scrutiny. The very setting up of a philosophical problem, along with its range of possible solutions, is itself an important philosophical task, and it can be done either well or badly, in a way that illuminates a particular philosophical landscape or in a way that obscures it and leads the unwary into research projects that bear little fruit per se and might even do intellectual damage.

I've previously called this the 'problem of the problem' (I'm sure I've discussed it elsewhere, but this is the post I can find offhand), and discerning problems, and their assumptions, and their changes is one of the more important philosophical tasks of the historian of philosophy.

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