Kinds of philosophy:
Distinctions of classes of
philosophies, such as informed vs.
non-informed; academic vs.
non-academic; classical vs. modern; scientific vs. non-scientific;
ideological vs. non-ideological; and
modern vs. postmodern.
kinds of philosophy one distinguishes will depend on the kind of
philosophy one has, but something can be said for the reality of the
given distinctions, that are articulated in some more detail
1. Informed vs. non-informed philosophy:
If it is human to philosophize,
that is, to try to acquire some general ideas and values to
experiences and orient one's
actions, as I think it is, it also is true
that most of the philosophies man have and have had are not at all
well-informed about philosophy in general.
This is the reason for this first distinction: It often makes little
sense to try to rationally discuss a
philosophy (or religion, which is
counted in this lemma also a a form of philosophy) with its adherents if
they have little knowledge
of other philosophies or of real science, or indeed, as is also often the case,
even of their
own philosophy, which tend to be held in an ideological rather than a rational way.
2. Academic vs. non-academic philosophy:
By academic philosophy I
understand the sort of knowledge of philosophy that is taught in modern
There is a special lemma for it in
this dictionary, and the
relevant observations for those not versed in academic philosophy are
(a) that, because it is an academical subject, it tends to be academic,
presupposes some knowledge, and tends to be written by and for scholars
in philosophy, in a philosophical prose that is often far removed from
good prose and (b) that there are many kinds of academic philosophies,
of various degrees of difficulty, abstruseness, and technicality, and
(c) that some of it, in spite of the fact that it is difficult, abstruse
or technical, may be worthwile nevertheless, though (d) there also is a
great amount of false profundity and intentional abstruseness in much
3. Classical vs. modern philosophy:
Originally - from the Greek - "philosophy"
means "love of knowledge" or indeed
"love of science", and
all (or nearly all) of science there was belonged to philosophy, and
philosophy mostly consisted of verbal
This changed around 1600, largely due to Francis Bacon and
Galileo Galilei, who proposed that science should be based on
experiments and on the
axiomatic method, which led
rapidly to the development of many specialized sciences, such as
physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and also other kinds of specialized
sciences, like history, sociology and psychology, that involve mostly a
modicum of scientific methodology.
One important point to notice is that with the rise of real science
many questions that before were dealt with only argumentatively and
non-experimentally in philosophy, were dealt with experimentally in
these more specialized sciences, and also often got new solutions or at
least new forms when posed scientifically than when posed
Indeed, many or most of the pre-modern philosophers would have
considered themselves to be scientists and did consider themselves
scientists - except that they had not arrived at the concept of
4. Scientific vs. non-scientific philosophy:
In line with the previous point, it makes sense, since the rise of
real empirical science, to distinguish between scientific and
non-scientific philosophies at least in the senses of, respectively,
philosophies that mostly agree with science and are inspired by science,
and philosophies that do not mostly agree with science or are not
inspired by it.
The latter philosophies comprise various
religiously inspired philosophiers, such as Thomism and
Existentialism in some forms, and also various politically inspired
philosophies, such as Marxism (that
claims to be scientific, but insists on rejecting various parts of
science called "bourgeois").
This Dictionary is
based on the assumption that by and large modern science has come in the
place of philosophy, and that philosophies that reject modern science
(which is not the same as rejecting some of its tenets) are hardly
5. Ideological vs. non-ideological philosophy:
Many philosophies exist mostly as
ideologies, that is as the worldview of some
social group or
religious movement, that is not so much (or at all) constrained by
and mathematics, but much rather by
the ends and values
of the group or the movement.
Indeed, it probably is true that the vast majority of personal
philosophies - whatever their degree of informedness, scientificality,
or rationality - are at least held in an ideological way, and
with a view to combat at least some other philosophies.
This Dictionary is
based on the assumption that,
whatever one's personal political or religious ends, it is rationally
and ethically better to try to keep one's
philosophy free from ideology (which is not to say that one's
philosophy must have no partisan views - which indeed all or almost all
distinct philosophies have).
The main reason for this tenet is that ideologies tend to be
political or religious and tend to be partial to what can be rationally
and scientifically be established as true
6. Modern vs. postmodern philosophy:
As indicated above, modern philosophy arose with the rise of
science, and indeed consists mostly, if
rational, in the methodological or
epistemological investigation of the
foundations of science and mathematics.
In the 1960-ies there arose postmodern
philosophy, which has its own lemma in this Dictionary, that,
mostly for ideological or emotional reasons, and because of a marked
lack of real scientific knowledge in its adherents, insisted that
philosophy be renewed as a kind of textual interpretation, that
supposedly showed, or at least was based on, the theses that
truth does not
exist (as it is at best partial and
ideological); that all ethics and
morals are relative (similarly argued);
and that all men and women are equal.
In fact, postmodernism worked out as recipe for pretentious
obscurantists to find fame or make a career with obstruse baloney and
wishful thinking, and in fact
postmodernism took mostly the ideological place that
marxism and the old left held before.
This Dictionary is
based on the assumption that postmodernism is mainly and mostly
totalitarian, quite dangerous for
civilization and science, intellectually as worthless as it is
pretentious, and morally an obscurantist version of nihilism, often with
a grandiosely vague leftist-sounding set of ends, that seems to be the
main reason its adherents feel committed to it.