Metaphilosophy

Metaphilosophy, sometimes called the philosophy of philosophy, is "the investigation of the nature of philosophy".[1] Its subject matter includes the aims of philosophy, the boundaries of philosophy, and its methods.[2][3] Thus, while philosophy characteristically inquires into the nature of being, the reality of objects, the possibility of knowledge, the nature of truth, and so on, metaphilosophy is the self-reflective inquiry into the nature, aims, and methods of the activity that makes these kinds of inquiries, by asking what is philosophy itself, what sorts of questions it should ask, how it might pose and answer them, and what it can achieve in doing so. It is considered by some to be a subject prior and preparatory to philosophy,[4] while others see it as inherently a part of philosophy,[5] or automatically a part of philosophy[6] while others adopt some combination of these views.[2]

The interest in metaphilosophy led to the establishment of the journal Metaphilosophy in January 1970.[7]

Many sub-disciplines of philosophy have their own branch of 'metaphilosophy', examples being meta-aesthetics, meta-epistemology, meta-ethics, and metametaphysics (meta-ontology).[8]

Although the term metaphilosophy and explicit attention to metaphilosophy as a specific domain within philosophy arose in the 20th century, the topic is likely as old as philosophy itself, and can be traced back at least as far as the works of Ancient Greeks and Ancient Indian Nyaya.[9]


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