I'm given this note of the page Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I would like to know how to access it from the main page. Is this kind of question on scope? There is Web Applications Stack Exchange, but I think only folks in this site can answer.

In the end I find the answer here, but the general question is still hold.

2 Answers 2


I do not think it should belong here. This question is essentially about website mechanics, not about philosophy.

That is reflected in the place where your question was migrated to: super user is about general system mechanics in IT.

I think there is even a question on grading philosophical essays which I once answered, so our scope is really broad in general. And I would not generally reject questions about educational means used in the study of philosophy as such. It is just that the question at hand is very IT-specific.


Short Answer

Yes and no. You've asked two distinct questions and each needs to be addressed separately.

Long Answer

First, understand that a question generally belongs on PhilSE, Meta, or off-site. To determine which is which, it's best to categorize a question as QASME, MPQ, or off-topic. Let's go through the difference.


Stack Exchange-compliant Q&A-style subject-matter expertise (QASME) might be thought of as a simple question of fact or one requiring simplification with some editorial determination. There is some contention on what qualifies as QASME, and different users have different beliefs. See Friends, what exactly is the difference between 'being a philosopher' and 'being a philosophy SME'? for one introduction to questions surrounding what belongs on PhilSE and how PhilSE should be used. The broad heuristic is 'are you trying to argue philosophy, or are you trying to understand philosophy?' The former is dialectic (Let's debate!), and the latter is simply a circumscribed interrogative (What, who, why, how, or which?).


A question is a metaphilosophical question (MPQ) if generally it pertains to using PhilSE or Meta or clarifying where a question belongs.


There are many questions which seem like they are QASME or MPQ, but are not. Some are obvious. 'How many innings in a baseball game?' obviously is off-topic. More tricky are questions that are philosohical, but are not constrained by the criteria of QASME. They generally are broad, lack context, and are highly opinionated. 'What is life?' is a perfectly valid question of philosophy, but not a good fit for this site.

Is there another way of understanding this, or testing my hunches on where the question belongs?

Yes, by the application of linguistic substitution using variables. Let's clarify by example and the use of the use-mention distinction:

How do I 'X'?

Whether or not this question is QASME, MPQ, or off-topic depends on X. So...

How do I 'use computers generally'?. (off-topic)

The object here is general computer use, so this question is neither QASME nor MPQ and doesn't belong on PhilSE or Meta, resp.

How do I 'reason inductively'?

The object here is the skill of induction, so this question QASME, so the question belongs on PhilSE. Now, some will push back and say this is too opinionated and the question would be better, 'How does Hume recommend I 'reason inductively'. But, contributors like myself find this to be a stifling of the basic intent of this site which is to leverage philosophical SME through editorial decision. The broader question allows philosophy SME's to provide their expertise. In theory, good SME with good answers help develop the knowledge base for beginning users. Those with the narrow view have concerns that the questions aren't well-formed or rigorous enough. There is no clear consensus operating here. I have raised this question about the balance between meeting beginner and more advanced users on Meta with a handful of question. See Friends, Are We Not Philosophers: Is This Place a Bazaar or a Cathedral?

Is X allowed on PhilSE? (MPQ)

Clearly, this question is seeking to ask about whether a topic X is QASME or not, so it belongs on meta.

Is X allowed on PhilSE Meta? (MPQ)

This question is seeking to determine if a topic X is MPQ which itself is MPQ, so it belongs on Meta.

Now we are in a position to answer your questions:

Q1. Are questions about educational tools relating to philosophy on-topic?

This is allowed on PhilSE Meta (this site), because Meta is meant for metaphilosophical questions (MPQ) related to PhilSE, but it is NOT allowed on PhilSE because it isn't QASME, but rather a clarification to determine if it is QASME which itself MPQ. Ultimately, the question of whether or not questions about educational tools relating to philosophy are on-topic on PhilSE are entirely dependent on how you phrase them. Are you asking about the history of educational tools in philosophy (questions of philosophical pedagogy), or are you asking contributors to buy educational tools for philosophy (solicitation). Obviously, you're not allowed to hawk wares.

Q2. I'm given this note of the page Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I would like to know how to access it from the main page.

This question is NOT allowed on PhilSE because object of inquiry is 'browser technology' which is NOT QASME. You obviously recognize this since you posted on Web Applications Stack Exchange. When in doubt, you can post duplicates and see what happens. Some questions can stretch across domains. Certainly a question about the philosophy of history if it has historical components can be both philosophical and historical.

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