Consider this question: How can effects be thinkable without a law of causality?. This is a pretty interesting question, which I would very much like to discuss with others. The question is, however, asked within the scope of a few quotations from Wittgenstein's Tractatus. I don't have the stomach to do exegetical work on the Tractatus, though.

I was wondering if there is any rule in this site about whether we're required to go exegetical in such cases, or whether we're allowed to address the question itself with no regard to exegesis.

By the way, is there a page explaining the overall etiquette about Philosophy SE?


First of all, you are not required to do anything. Everyone participates here on a voluntary basis.

The question you are talking about is specifically about a passage from Wittgenstein. If I understand you correctly, you are interested in participating in a discussion about this topic, without having to read Wittgenstein. Then you may be better off asking a general question about that topic. (However, if you're really interested in discussing your own views, this might not be the best site for you).

Since the question you're talking about requires some knowledge of the text: yes, you will have to have read that text and know a bit about its context in order to answer. If you don't have that knowledge, that's fine, but then you will need to either get it or simply don't answer the question.

There are no strict rules for how broad a question can be (i.e., how much work is required from the answerer). We have two related close reasons:

Too broad. There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

This question is missing context. Please improve the question by providing additional context, which ideally includes your thoughts on the problem and any attempts you have made to solve it. This information helps others identify where you have difficulties and helps them write answers appropriate to your experience level.

I don't think either of those is applicable here.

As for your question about etiquette: there is not one dedicated page, but we have a help center, where you can find information about:

  • Our model (what kind of behaviour do we expect from users? What to do when someone does not conform?)
  • Answering and asking.

You can access the help center from the 'help' link in the top bar.

  • absolutely, 1st rule of philosophy.stackexchange
    – user6917
    Feb 9 '17 at 14:52

What you are required to do is give a reliable answer, which would ideally be based on the knowledge of experts (you or others) in the relevant fields.

What you definitely should not do is start analyzing the text and build your own interpretation of it. As the vastness of literature on such texts shows, this can be quite difficult to do well.

  • You're hedging about exegesis.
    – n.r.
    Jan 27 '17 at 14:56

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