Friday, January 19, 2007

PSEUDOPHILOSOPHY
from here

The orthodox understanding of pseudophilosophy is any idea or system that masquerades itself as philosophy while significantly failing to meet some suitable intellectual standards. The term is frequently used pejoratively, and most applications of it are quite contentious. (The term non-philosophy is often taken to refer to similar areas, but with less negative connotations. As such, non-philosophy is a term used to refer to philosophy situated at the margins of the discipline in terms of subject-matter and its critical reception.) The term bears the same relationship to philosophy that pseudoscience bears to science.

The term is often used more casually to express contempt, irritation, or just dislike toward some idea or system of ideas. It is not, for the most part, used technically within academic philosophy, though it is likely to occur in philosophers' judgments on larger aspects of culture, their advice to new students, their assessments of other disciplines, and so forth.

Nicholas Rescher, in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, defines pseudo-philosophy as "deliberations that masquerade as philosophical but are inept, incompetent, deficient in intellectual seriousness, and reflective of an insufficient commitment to the pursuit of truth." Rescher adds that the term is particularly appropriate when applied to "those who use the resources of reason to substantiate the claim that rationality is unachievable in matters of inquiry."

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