Should everything be philosophized about?

One thing that I think philosophers as a whole struggle with is discerning which topics are appropriate to philosophize about. Many philosophers are very gung-ho about pursuing all lines of inquiry – if there’s a question to be explored, they’ll explore it. While I love the zealousness and unabashed approach that philosophers take to doing research (“Are there objects?”, “Is there a blue or are there just blue things?”), I strongly believe that there are just some topics philosophy ought not touch.

For example, in exploring the metaphysics of gender, an unsettling number of papers have been published which essentially come to the conclusion that trans identities are not valid. These inquiries are masked in questions such as “What is gender?”, but at their base imply that respecting trans identities is up for debate.

In general, I think any line of inquiry which essentially puts the humanity of a group of people, especially marginalized groups, into question ought not exist. If are to philosophize about the metaphysics of gender – or about anything, really – our exploration should begin with a baseline of respect.

It’s no secret that the discipline of philosophy is filled with over-privileged people, and oftentimes this leads to work which is disconnected, offensive, and ignorant. We as a collective need to do a better job at being conscious of these issues – in checking ourselves and our own work, but furthermore in refraining from adding legitimacy to the work of others which does not meet this baseline of respect.

2 thoughts on “Should everything be philosophized about?

  1. I agree, and I would add that many movements in the past that sought to put the basic rights of people up for debate, or to end them entirely–found pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-scientific cover in areas of academia that did not do enough to recognize marginalized groups.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed – I wasn’t actually aware how pervasive this problem was until I started reading some literature in feminist philosophy of science. It’s really troubling. A quote I read recently that I really liked: “It is not enough for programs, recommendations, guidelines, etc. to be ‘evidence-based’. Because, in fact, the research (the ‘evidence’) is so often lacking in diversity and inclusion and laced with bias. We need research that has been conducted by researchers who are continually unpacking their bias and privilege. We need diversity and inclusion among researchers and the research. We need researchers with marginalizations to have easy access to funding and funding that is equitable.” (Bethany Wheeler)


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