Software Musings

Distinctions and Differences

Posted on: 06/05/2006

There is a useful site, entitled Philosophical Weblogs linking to numerous philosphically-oriented blogs. For reasons not explained on the site, the main bulk of the linked blogs are divided into Philosophers (sheep?) and Students (goats?). It is difficult to imagine anyone interested or knowledgeable in philosophy who is not a student thereof. I looked in vain for a link to click to request a definition of the distinction—or is there perhaps an unspoken implication, surely false, that only academics are philosophers and the word Student is used in its narrow academic sense? That also seems unreasonable.

I am reminded of the bookshops that differentiate between Fiction and Literature. I have spent many happy hours asking, in an innocent manner but with limited results, the precise difference between these catagories. In one such bookshop they even classified their collection of softporn magzines under General Interest. When I tried to open a discussion as to whether such magazines really were of general interest I felt that I was getting nowhere. While on the subject of bookshops, the exploits of Improv Everywhere’s team in the second-hand bookshop in Union Square Park (which I believe is in New York, USA) are an irresistable work of art.

So, back to the Philosopher/Student distinction. I’m led to wonder which philosopher comes closest to being a philosopher without being a student. I would propose the early (Tractatus) Wittgenstein as a starter.


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The author of this blog used to be an employee of Nortel. Even when he worked for Nortel the views expressed in the blog did not represent the views of Nortel. Now that he has left, the chances are even smaller that his views match those of Nortel.
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