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There are certain differences between the principles and practice of academic branches; among these Philosophy stands markedly apart. For one, Philosophy is self referential like no other discipline. Naturally some of these peculiarities carries over to Philosophy SE. For instance the potential user base is probably the largest, drawing from curios adolescents to professional philosophers. While the highly qualified users can easily be the smallest number. For example:

Sciences work within narrow domain paradigms, i.e. Biology is only interested in living things, Psychology with human behavior etc. additionally within a branch of inquiry there is a 'culture' made up of conventions and language peculiar to that discipline. This domain specific culture is reflected on the corresponding SE site. However Philosophy has the widest domain of inquiry, as a result one peculiarity of Philosophy is that it's culture is eclectic. That means, for Philosophy SE some policy decisions can be unique. Thus, together with demographics, a list of these peculiarities could be useful

Has anybody done something to that effect?

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    I am not quite sure whether this question is not way too assertive in its presumptions. Regarding self-referentiality, I know of quite a few (the best in their respective fields, mostly) philosophers that refer to sources not only external to their own writings or writings in a certain circle, but external to philosophy altogether to make a point. Papers in empirical science mostly refer to earlier papers of the same authors and other works in a very confined field. How is that less self-referential? Examples, especially about the peculiarity of policy decisions, would be most welcome. – Philip Klöcking Aug 29 '18 at 10:56
  • @PhilipKlöcking Sorry. I meant in the sense that Philosophers study Philosophy itself, i.e. the act of philosophizing is within the domain of Philosophic interest. Anyway, the point is Philosophy is unique and that an enumeration of it's peculiarities would be useful on Meta. – christo183 Aug 29 '18 at 11:22
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    Perhaps related: philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/474/… – Chris Sunami Dec 28 '18 at 21:01
  • @ChrisSunami This would be kind of a critique of that post. However note that the intention here is not to lead some sort of rebellion against SE , rather the envisioned list is meant to assist community members in navigating the unique waters of balancing the purpose of Philosophy SE with the rules of the platform. – christo183 Dec 29 '18 at 7:57
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Since philosophy can be highly opinionated, the quantity of assertions may dominate facts. To prevent this from happening, I can see how one might take a slightly different approach to questions and answers here.

For questions, one should focus on refining them so they are clear. These questions may require more editing than what goes on at other sites.

For answers, one should focus on providing references that are housed in a rhetorically persuasive argument that need not involve the writer's personal opinion. These references provide something objective for both the reader and writer to hold onto.

  • Thanks, I've added points 5 and 6 based on your answer, please feel free to edit as you see fit. – christo183 Nov 26 '18 at 8:26
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The question did not properly place the focus on my intent. The actual focus is in here:

"That means, for Philosophy SE some policy decisions can be unique. Thus, together with demographics, a list of these peculiarities could be useful"

1) Because Philosophy is somewhat unique, Philosophy SE is somewhat unique.

2) Enumerating in what ways Philosophy SE is unique may provide a list useful in regards to policy decisions, codes of conduct, etc. I.e. a tool for moderators.

(Such a list could be of some philosophical interested as well)

So assuming anybody is interested, I will try and start the List. Feel free to add or edit.


1) Other SE's cover subjects that require a certain minimum level of education or is inherently limited to particular (narrow) domain of interest. PSE draws questions very likely from the widest user base.


2) "comments" are for improving the quality of a post - yet all and sundry go far beyond the mere "suggesting an improvement" or "requesting a clarification", and on a regular basis. I surmise that this is the case because any particular question can be viewed from so many perspectives, that comprehension of another user's statements often requires discussion.


3) [Provisional depending on: Can you adequately discuss Philosophy, without _doing_ philosophy? ] Some of the subject matter is inherently subjective.


4) (Depricated.)


5) For questions, one should focus on refining them so they are clear. These questions may require an iterative process to arrive at an on-topic and faithful presentation of the Questioner's intent.


6) For answers, one should focus on providing references that are housed in a rhetorically persuasive argument. That means sometimes an accurate answer may not reflect the writers opinion.

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    I wouldn't agree on your first point; any SE is capable of every level of sophistication. Philosophy isn't alone in that. – Yechiam Weiss Nov 1 '18 at 16:11
  • @YechiamWeiss Marked your explicit objection for deletion. Was your intent actually the entire point? I found it hard to imagine, on most of the other SE's, there could be questions from post-grad level to spuriously interested children. Is there a better way to phrase or do you hold that, routinely getting questions from all levels of sophistication, happens across the board? – christo183 Nov 2 '18 at 14:42
  • Highly disagree with #4. – Eliran Nov 13 '18 at 18:26

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