Is it OK? In no way am I trying to appear better read than I am. I spend much of my free time googling, and so reading, philosophy, and I have sat, and actually passed, an undergraduate degree in philosophy, so understand the uses of argument. But, due to disability, I rarely read philosophy per se. Does that mean I should not quote from philosophy?

  • Sadly, when I quote from material I have read, I tend to get downvoted even more than usual, so it's counter productive unless I just want to get enraged by other people.
    – user67675
    Sep 27, 2023 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


So, (if I understand the reasoning) a user that answers a philosophy SE question without reading the body is acceptable. It's good to know because it saves me time and aggravation. No more of those annoying "Did you even read the body of my question before answering?" comments.

I can live with that.

  • i see what you mean, but it can be done gratuitously and unhelpfully
    – user67675
    Sep 27, 2023 at 17:28
  • 1
    What bothers me is that inherent in your logic is the assumption that the reference that is blindly quoted from and unread has no chance of providing the answer to your question. If the quote serves as inspiration for a question then a reasonable next step is to read the article to make sure it's not answered in the reference. No need to provide a link to a pdf containing the quote if the reference is not in the proper context. Sep 27, 2023 at 17:35
  • ok i'll stop using the site. problem solved. though i think you might mischaracterise how reading works, fwiw
    – user67675
    Sep 27, 2023 at 17:50
  • ??? When did I ever request that you stop using this site? You are taking my criticism of your question (which moderators closed) too personally. I'm sorry if I jumped to conclusions as to your intent but you were wrong to include that link. If the quote is taken out of context, then it is your responsibility to provide the context including word definitions. By providing the link without redefining the context meant I had to read the reference to get context and any other "apriori" information. Which wasted my time. Sep 27, 2023 at 18:10
  • i wasn't using the quote to show that power was zero sum, though, i was using it to show that it might appear to be framed that way sometimes, perhaps to me, a lazy reader
    – user67675
    Sep 27, 2023 at 18:12
  • and i don't quote things i don't already think i "know" / have read about. it's in lieu of finding the actual source (which can be very tricky)
    – user67675
    Sep 27, 2023 at 19:06

Well, if your post is based on something you quote and you have an answer or question that, in part, relies on the content of the quoted text, then it would trivially be expected that you read it at least to an extent that allows you to judge whether what you make of it is accurate.

Thus, cherrypicking one quote (e.g. from the abstract) would, for me, violate the principle of critical and charitable reading that is central to dealing with philosophy.

If one only took a quote as an inspiration and let the thoughts fly from there without them necessarily having anything to do with the text the quote is taken from, that can be legit but should probably be disclosed in order to prevent misunderstandings.

  • well part of my google skill i think is that i can scan an article for 2-3 minutes to find out if the quote i seize is being misapplied. i do it without this site, don't worry! i'm a bit like a new/next age philosophy researcher haha
    – user67675
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:06
  • so the example of the nietzsche quote is fine. i read a few paragraphs of a few pages, searched a few words, and decided that while the article presumably doesn't claim that power is (what turns out to be phrased as) a "zero sum game", the quoted phrase is, in the article, worked around as if it's meaning could suggest that power is zero sum, as an extension of anti-egalitarian claims based on nietzsche. see what i mean?
    – user67675
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:12
  • i should have emphasised suggests more there, and i didn't want or mean to claim that the author/s were giving my (hypothetical) interpretation to their claims themselves. maybe i am not communicating clearly enough. the basic idea of the whole work meaning something entails just as much that you can take one part out of it to remark on as it does that you can misunderstand that part without reading it all. idt i did.
    – user67675
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:32
  • If one only took a quote as an inspiration and let the thoughts fly from there . . . glad you mentioned that, because especially for those not pursuing philosophy academically, that is pretty common (I did this a lot as an undergrad, without following your advice on this).
    – Hokon
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:44

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