Philosophy vs. Pseudophilosophy

What is the difference between philosophy and pseudophilosophy?

Here’s a list of the differences:

1. Philosophy is about discovery. Pseudophilosophy is about defending one’s already held views.

2. Philosophy is about following the truth wherever it leads. Pseudophilosophy is truth-denying.

3. Philosophy doesn’t care about convincing someone by any means necessary. Pseudophilosophy embraces bullshit.

4. Philosophy can be an artistic and fun. Pseduophilosophy is concerned with winning arguments like a lawyer or politician.

5. Philosophy distinguishes speculation from evidence and pure reason from demonstration. Psuedophilosophy doesn’t acknowledge the limits of human understanding.

6. Philosophy welcomes empirical data and natural science. Pseudophilosophy tosses around terms like “scientism” more than a beachball gets tossed around at a Nickelback concert.

7. Philosophy is about being clear and not using mysterious language. Psuedophilosophy is all about the use of confusing language.

8. Philosophy is about balancing being both skeptical and open-minded. Pseudophilosophy is about pretending to know things you don’t know or can’t know.



10 thoughts on “Philosophy vs. Pseudophilosophy

    1. It reminds me of quotes from two philosophers, the first a terrible writer and the second an excellent one.

      Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote “Everything that can be said, can be said clearly.” (Tractatus, 4.116)

      His erstwhile mentor Bertrand Russell said “I am allowed to use plain English because everybody knows that I could use mathematical logic if I chose. Take the statement: ‘Some people marry their deceased wives’ sisters.’ I can express this in language which only becomes intelligible after years of study, and this gives me freedom. I suggest to young professors that their first work should be written in a jargon only to be understood by the erudite few. With that behind them, they can ever after say what they have to say in a language ‘understanded of the people’. (Portraits from Memory)

  1. Great points. I think that the points that you have made about Pseudophilosophy is the reason that I have hated debates all my life. However, I have seen people in debate teams again “debating” that their debate is a form of art and skill. And actually, when looked in that perspective, it could be considered a dexterity to be able to clear the guilt of the criminal, as some lawyers do. Anyways, great post!

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