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Questions? Oh, So many Questions! [why no Philosophy forum?]

  1. Feb 14, 2013 #1
    I don't understand why philosophy is not accepted in the lounge, or even more so, why can't there be open civilized discussion on such a broad and important topic. In my opinion, I do believe that philosophy is important, because it is a topic which is ingrained in the sciences. "The root needs the leaves like the leaves need the roots.". I know after I post this the thread just might be locked by a "moderator", but I do wish to know why it is not allowed in general discussion. ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ I just don't understand why we can not get along.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2013 #2


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    Re: Questions? Oh, So many Questions!

    The mentors as a group voted against allowing philosophy at the entire PF forum. Supposedly if there was a really great reason to allow a thead on philosophy, a mentor could make an exception, but apparently no mentors want philosophy in their forums, as none are allowed anywhere. In the other thread that prompted this thread, I just wanted to make it clear that it is not alowed in the lounge, but it's not allowed anywhere and we stick with mainstream science.

    We get along just fine as long as the nonsense people call philosophy is not allowed.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  4. Feb 16, 2013 #3


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    Re: Questions? Oh, So many Questions!

    Just to add to Evo's post, for people who have only recently joined PF: we used to have a dedicated Philosophy subforum. Our decision to get rid of it was based on recurring problems that required more involvement and time from Mentors than any of us were willing to spend.
  5. Feb 16, 2013 #4
    This forum has several standards. Many people dislike it, but our standards of science discussion are pretty high. We don't discuss crackpottery, personal theories, etc. The same should hold for the philosophy forum. We shouldn't have a philosophy forum that degenerates into post after post of personal theories of why life has meaning. A philosophy forum would have to meet certain standards (like being published in professional circles, etc.). It shouldn't be a dumping ground of useless threads.

    Now, several months ago, we did have a philosophy forum. And we did have quite strict rules of what a thread should look like and what not. Guess what happened? Very, very, very few threads actually met the rules. Most threads were personal theories and 3-AM epiphanies. Those threads were all locked immediately. There were virtually no threads which discussed philosophy in a scholarly manner (and after a while, they degenerated into nonsense anyway).

    This is why we chose to remove the philosophy forum. It didn't contain anything useful anyway.

    Now, I'm going to reopen this thread. Please don't let me regret this.
  6. Feb 16, 2013 #5
    micromass made me study Philosophy at university.

    It is one of his favourite subjects. Much like MathS.
  7. Feb 17, 2013 #6
    First of all, Thank you for reopening this thread, much thanks! I do understand what you mean, by the guidelines and rules. If they didn't meet the criterion for the sub forum, then why did it have to exist, it would be just spam. I totally get it. Yeah, I understand the no tolerance for "crack pottery"(haha). It seems to me that most of the philosophical schools of thought ( as in logic, ethics ect.) have been taken out of the science. I was curious about why they were taken out of this forum. I think philosophy is and should be in a high more prestigious place than where it is now. I don't think it should be treated as the "drunken" uncle to the sciences. what do you other participants think?
  8. Feb 17, 2013 #7
    You're right that philosophy shouldn't be seen as the "drunken uncle". But if there were virtually no valid philosophy threads and if 99% of all the threads were nonsense, then what do you expect he mentors to do? Moderating something is very intensive. And if a forum doesn't meet the standards of the rest of the site, then why should we waste our time on it?

    I guess the situation would be very different if there were valid philosophy posts. But there aren't (or at least, there are very few).

    You seem to be very idealistic, that is good. But idealism doesn't help us run a forum. We need to be realistic to. What should happen isn't always what happens. Philosophy should be treated the right way, but reality on this forums shows that it isn't. So the realistic option is to just remove it.
  9. Feb 17, 2013 #8


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    Our intention here is that, as far as possible, the subject being discussed must have a high intellectual quality, preferably on par with an academic subject.

    Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of the discussion in the Philosophy forum fell short of that, by a lot. Many participants seem to think that it is OK to simply provide an opinion without any justification. It became a playground for free-for-all. When that happened, the discussion turned into a matter of personal preference and TASTES. One might as well argue about one's favorite color whereby one cannot make any kind of rational argument for or against.

    So yes, like many others that we no longer allow, we did give it a try!. So it isn't something we disallow for no apparent reason.

    I'll repeat what I've said many times before: This forum cannot be everything to everyone. Find me a forum that you think can be that, and I'll show you a pile of garbage. We try to focus on a narrower set of topics and purpose, and try to do them extremely well, as best as we can, with high standards and high signal-to-noise ratio.

    So your wish has been granted. You should now know why!

  10. Feb 17, 2013 #9


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    Another factor here is staffing. We had a Mentor in charge of the Philosophy forum, who had studied philosophy seriously. She set up rules to raise the level of discussion, and was able to enforce them from personal knowledge of the field. But she left. None of the rest of us know enough about philosophy to feel comfortable moderating serious philosophical discussions.
  11. Feb 17, 2013 #10
    Thank you for all of your inputs, I can see why they are reasonable reason why, thank you for those inputs.
  12. Feb 21, 2013 #11
    Is it too philosophical to ask....What does it mean to be Doctor of Philosophy of Physics?
  13. Feb 21, 2013 #12


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    That you have a Phd. It's the title but doesn't mean that you engage in "philosophy".

    The OP's question has been answered and now we're going off topic. Closed.
  14. Feb 21, 2013 #13
    That is supposed to be a valid argument for allowing philosophy in a science forum???? Oh god. I really regret leaving this thread open.
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