Non-philosophers I covertly mistake as philosophers

1. Isaac Newton (Author of ‘Principia) – as a metaphysician, and methodology-setter

2. Karl Barth (Theologian) – metaphysics, politics and ethics

3. Alan Turing (Logician) – as a philosopher of mind

4. Max Weber (Sociologist) – as a philosopher of social science, social philosopher, methodologist, possibly economist, and quasi philosopher of mind

5. Richard Dawkins (Biologist) – a philosopher of science, an enlightenment proponent in the vein of Hume, Spinoza, Leibniz and Voltaire

6. Sigmund Freud (Psychoanalyst) – If Marx is a philosopher, why the hell isn’t Freud one?! They equally have a case to be called one, yet the former is deemed philosophy, and the latter, not.

I deem their thought and conclusions important to philosophy and thought provoking to philosophical categories that aren’t fully encompassed in their own subjects: the notion of complete physical theories in physics; the notion of computation in mathematics; the notion of the centrism of Christ in theology; the nature of human action in sociology; and the nature of the hidden processes of our mind in the ‘mind-sciences’ (df: psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience). Then again, I always think if people are really great, everyone wants to claim them for their own: I feel that way very much for Newton. I have been thinking of writing a post on that very subject.



3 thoughts on “Non-philosophers I covertly mistake as philosophers

  1. Of course, anything can be considered philosophy, so anyone could be a philosopher. However, in the case of Dawkins it would behoove him to actually *read* some philosophy of science… 😉

  2. I do not agree with that proposition, that ‘anything’ can be philosophy. But I believe anything can be made into philosophy. Perhaps that is what you meant. Let me illustrate:

    F=ma as a proposition that an engineer would use to make some appliance is a tool.
    F=ma as a proposition that describes states of affairs is a proposition of metaphysics.

    We have to have the rose-tinted spectacles. Not the furniture it sees, to make philosophy. Of course, we need the furniture to make philosophy iff we have said spectacles.

    This sounds like splitting hairs, but I don’t think philosophy is something that is some frivolous task. It can be done by all, of course, one needs not necessarily to have professional qualifications (look at Plato). Philosophy is a serious pursuit and a very fruitful and worthwhile one, it pervades all of reality.

    I’ve heard from a friend that there is such a thing called ‘the philosophy of wine’.

    ACTUALLY!! Look at Carrie Jenkins’ blog which addresses the issue of flirting philosophically. She is a serious philosopher and deals with the issue very tactfully. I can’t help but not take it too seriously when compared to issues in philosophy like double effect, but I can see lots of deep problems when we look at a single thing like flirting. I might do a post on that. Or commission someone who knows more about that sort of thing :p


  3. I think we talked around each other there… I said that ‘anything could be considered philosophy’ and you said ‘anything can be made into philosophy’. I think we were on the same page right then and there. 🙂 Anyway, your tangents were more interesting than my original point. 😉

    Best wishes!

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