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Philosophy

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1laena
Feb 23, 2009, 11:51am Top

Includes works on existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, justice, validity, mind, and language. Includes metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and aesthetics.

2staffordcastle
Feb 23, 2009, 4:28pm Top

You mentioned logic under mathematics also - perhaps a bit more precision is required.

3Suncat
Edited: Feb 23, 2009, 6:57pm Top

I'm wondering what the "language" topics would be here, that wouldn't be put under "languages and linguistics" instead.

4astherest
Feb 23, 2009, 6:45pm Top

I'd like to make a plea here to move philosophical Taoism and Confucianism to religion. I understand that they are really philosophies and do not discuss deity/ies, but they're always included in those surveys of world religions and people expect to find them with Religion.

5Alixtii
Feb 26, 2009, 7:11am Top

>4 astherest:

Does Dewey put them in philosophy? I can imagine why it might, but I agree that if we're building a contemporary system not putting them under religion would be unthinkable.

Also, the claim "not really a religion" usually contains ideological underpinnings I can't endorse.

6Alixtii
Feb 26, 2009, 7:52am Top

I've tried to focus on the categories of questions rather than the categories of answers (reliabilism, pragmatism, consequentalism); this might be a flawed approach.

x. Metaphysics
     x. Cosmology
     x. Ontology
x. Epistemology
x. Logic
x. Ethics
     x. MetaEthics
     x. Normative Ethics
     x. Applied Ethics
x. Aesthetics
x. History of Philosophy

Presumably at least some of the works falling under the following categories we'd want under here rather than under the disciplines they discuss:

x. Philosophy of Language
x. Philosophy of Mind
x. Philosophy of Science
x. Philosophy of History
x. Philosophy of Religion
x. Political Philosophy

The question is whether a question-focused classificatory scheme can deal with actual works of philosophy, which tend to be answer-focused. Looking at books in my library tagged "philosophy":

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus -- Metaphysics?
Philosophical Investigations -- Philosophy of Language
Religion
The Blue and Brown Books -- Philosophy of Language? History of Philosophy?
Language, Truth, and Logic -- Logic? Epistemology? Philosophy of Language?
Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone -- Philosophy of Religion
Being and Time -- Metaphysics?
Works of Plato -- Metaphysics?
World As Will and Representation -- Metaphysics?
The Will to Power -- Ethics?
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature -- Epistemology?
Being and Nothingness -- Metaphysics

And so on.

7astherest
Feb 26, 2009, 9:20am Top

5 - Dewey puts the philosophical works (like the Tao Te Ching and the Analects) under philosophy, but books on the religious practice of these thought systems (like The Taoist Tarot and Confucian religious practices) in religion. So if you're not looking for a particular book, but just want an overview, you have to bounce back and forth.

8ssd7
Edited: Feb 26, 2009, 10:11am Top

It would be nice if we could create some system that would provide a balance between lumping by question and lumping by author/answers/time period.

It would often be nice if works by philosophers (especially the famous ones) could be lumped together somehow. For instance it would be nice to have these two somewhat close to each other:
Critique of Pure Reason
Ethical philosophy : the complete texts of grounding for the metaphysics of morals and metaphysical principles of virtue

And perhaps to have these somewhat close together:

Nicomachean Ethics
A New Aristotle Reader

Ancient philosophy is a somewhat problematic issue, since I think these are more likely expected to be grouped together than modern works by the same philosopher.

I attempted to apply this scheme to my books and while I could classify most, there were some that were problematic. Such as,

French and English Philosophers

However, the grouping by topic seems to make more sense in other areas. Especially when thinking about texts that are surveys of a particular field.

9comfypants
Feb 26, 2009, 1:07pm Top

Speaking as a complete layperson regarding philosophy, if I were to browse this section, I'd expect it to be sorted primarily by topic, and would be completely lost and confused if it wasn't.

10ssd7
Edited: Feb 26, 2009, 5:05pm Top

9: After thinking about it more, I think topics is likely most appropriate for public libraries.

I suggest that we add to the already proposed list a "General" category that would be organized perhaps by time period and then by philosopher. This would help account for books like A New Aristotle Reader which covers a broad range of topics.

If we added such a "General" category, it would have to be spelled out carefully what would go in there, since the LC's "General" section holds things such as Critique of Pure Reason and Philosophical Investigation.

11Alixtii
Mar 2, 2009, 5:11pm Top

9, 10>

Could you be a little clearer what you mean by "topics"? "Metaphysics," "pragmatism," and "the linguistic turn" all constitute "topics" in philosophy; do you mean the traditional sub-disciplines of philosophy (which I outlined in >6 Alixtii:) or something else?

Or can we come up with a system which allows all three as possibilities? (The only problem with that, I think, is that if we allow answers like "pragamatism" as categories, the only books left with the questions would be surveys and introductory texts.)

The really interesting stuff will, I think, come out after we test this; unfortunately, we won't be able to test it without a tentative set of categories.

12jjwilson61
Mar 2, 2009, 5:58pm Top

I think 9 and 10 were both in relation to 8 which suggested organizing by authors/answers/time period. In that context I think topics means not organizing by authors (philosophers?) nor time periods.

13ssd7
Edited: Mar 2, 2009, 6:35pm Top

11 By topics I meant the traditional sub-disciplines you outlined.

I think if we add some soft of "General" Category as a catch-all then the list in 6 is a fairly good start until we are able to test it out.

"Answers" could be the organizing principle at the third level, with a "General" category to hold surveys or introductory texts of that specific field. So something like

* Philosophy
** General
...
** Ethics
*** General
*** Utilitarianism
*** Luck Egalitarianism
*** ...

Obviously this "General" category I am recommending could be differently named or broken up and could also have subcategories.

What this doesn't address is my initial concern of having "big name" (1) philosophers together. This concern stems from the fact that certain philosopher's are themselves topics in philosophy ( Kant and Aristotle, for example). And it is unclear whether a "General" section would really be the best way to account for this fact. That being said, I'm more than wiling to drop this concern if others don't see it as a real issue. My vision may be clouded by the fact that all of my philosophy classes this year have been named after philosophers and it helps to have books close together when attempting to easily finish papers in the library.

(1) Clearly this idea would have to be better defined. Obviously Kant and Aristotle are "big names" but then, depending on audience, so are Robert Nozick, Richard Rorty, or John McDowell.

14Alixtii
Mar 2, 2009, 8:05pm Top

>13 ssd7:

Everything you say makes a lot of sense. I do share the fear in >10 ssd7: that the "General" category could endup unwieldly, holding everything from the Critiques to PI to Language, Truth, and Logic to the entire corpus of Richard Rorty's works.

Clearly "infinitism" and "coherentism" should be tertiary categories under Epistemology, and "idealism," "realism," and "antirealism" should be under metaphysics. The answers which worry me include Logical Positivism, Pragmatism, Phenomenology, and Existentialism--how do we classify those works which take these approaches? They sort of re-write the traditional questions of philosophy as set forth in >6 Alixtii:.

It'd be nice to keep philosophers together, but I don't see how we could do it without ignoring content altogether and simply classifying works according to geography and time period. And even arranging the philosophers alphabetically, the way they do in bookstores, becomes problematic, because one would want to keep works about a philosopher near works by a philosopher and the result is an unholy mess. (I can never find what I want when browsing the philosophy section at Barnes & Noble; I have to just look through the entire section to see if what I want is there.)

15ssd7
Edited: Mar 3, 2009, 10:32pm Top

14: I've looked through a small sample of books related to "existentialism" and "pragmatism" in my University's library system. It seems that in the LC scheme, they seem to be pretty well spread out between "General" and then the various more specific categories like Speculative Philosophy -> Metaphysics.

Any system that is created based on content is going to have rough edges so I guess the questions come down to:

(a) Are we OK with rough edge? If not, then we need a different means of categorizing. If we are then,
(b) Are the rough edges of this system acceptable?

Without data it is hard to answer (b).

Another problem I have with categorizing by "answer" on any level is that it becomes unclear where to stop in terms of what "answers" will have enough books within that category to merit it being a grouping. Also, philosophy tends to be nuanced, which would possibly make the actual categorizing using "answers" involve a good deal of interpretive work that really doesn't seem appropriate. That being said, it is obviously useful to have all the Utilitarians together when browsing through the ethics section.

Since the task at hand is to determine the second-level, I suppose the current question should be "Do the traditional sub-disciplines make sense at the second level?" I think think the answer to this is clearly "Yes." This, it seems to me, is how most people would expect a section to be organized.

This post has mostly just been "thinking out loud."

16conners
Mar 20, 2009, 10:50am Top

Please check out this thread (http://www.librarything.com/topic/60594) for a link to the new OSC blog and a call for specific volunteer involvement. Thanks!

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