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.




19 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. Hello, we stumbled upon your interesting blog and need to read more about your views and aims.
        But you may be wrong about Hegel. He was the last “system-philosopher” and struggled with too many aspects of state, religion and society. There had to be lose ends…
        Kant seems a lot more confusing about his view on religion and moral: In Germany he is celebrated for his views on reason, yet in fact he was the destroyer of reason.

  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!

  2. BlackSheep

    “More than a beachball gets tossed around at a Nickelback concert”… that line had me cracking up. I’ve been there once, and there was a beachball.

  3. Re: #5 — There are limits to human understanding? Methinks you have an error in your thinking. Philosophy asks you to expand those so-called limits. Pseudophilosophy leaves you trapped in what you believe those limits to be.

      1. What is to think about. I can grasp the infinite. Maybe not all of it, but that is what imagination is for, and theorizing, and reasoning.
        It all depends on what you want the infinite to be, and there is only one thing it can be–life! Without life there is nothing; with life there is understanding. Discover life, and you will discover the infinite. Believe you cannot discover life, and you can never know the infinite. At least, not yet…

      2. …a “vision” which the world’s combined greatest minds, incl. Aristotle, Einstein and Hegel didn’t possess.
        Then you have “grasped” the creation of the universe (which means, you would understand its magnitude), because Einstein and Hawkins i.e. haven’t.
        Btw: vision and understanding are 2 entirely different things. You can have visions after smoking pot.

      3. I did not say “a vision,” just vision. Why must the universe have a starting point, after all, you call it infinite. Infinite means forever. Creation is a biblical term, a religious term. You can only have creation if you have a creator. Infinity needs no creator. Your vision is locked within boxes wkithin boxes within boxes. Of course you have no vision of the infinite, you don’t even know what it means.

  4. Sir,
    1. I did not write that the Universe MUST have a starting point! Yet, it IS THERE
    2. As a man of vision and understanding of the infinite, we hoped you could explain it to us.
    That was our initial point
    3. “Infinity needs no creator.”
    That is only the wretched subterfuge (William James) of a limited mind.
    4. You have no idea who you are dealing with, for a “philosopher” (if you forgive the
    exaggeration) you should be less presumptuous and show a tad less arrogance.

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