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2010-12-29
Philosophical "Bourbaki Group"

Are any of you interested in an "open source" philosophical project something rather like the <Bourbaki Group>, but initially limited to describing and mapping important philosophical problems and their inter-relations? As a first approximation, the guidelines might be as follows.

1.) Initially, at least, "philosophy" would include whatever serious thinkers who call themselves "philosophers" have said or implied it is. (Obviously, this would be an incoherent mix, including views that reject the possibly of philosophy. )

2.) Similarly, anything (including differences about what philosophy is and whether it is possible) would count as a philosophical "problem" if any such persons thinks (has thought) it is. Of course, something would still count as a important "problem" even if it is thought by some to have been solved or not to be a legitimate problem at all.

3.) The project would be descriptive and analytic, not evaluative or historical.

4.) The idea of would be:(a) to collect a (presumably complete) set of candidates, without worry- ing, initially, about overlap or precision; (b) to sort them out (taking account of their various vers- ions) and show as concisely as possible what each problem is and why it is thought to be a prob- lem; (c) to describe its relation upward to more general versions, downwords to more specific forms, and latterly to other similar problems. (The scheme of these relations would, of course, be much more complex that the foregoing suggests.)

More ambitious work might follow.

If done seriously, I thinks the result might prove very useful.

GPH

2011-01-06
Philosophical "Bourbaki Group"
Reply to Greg P. Hodes
this is good idea. but what about the details of this work? can you explain more?

2011-01-14
Philosophical "Bourbaki Group"
Reply to Majid Ziaei-G
Majid,

Sorry to be so long getting back to you. I guess the details would have to be worked out by those who are interested in the project. One reason it interests me is that I think philosophy (in all its flavors) is "drifting dead in the water" partly because it has lost touch with, or given up on, its core interests; and I think sorting out what at various times has counted as its important problems  re- ducing them, as far as possible, to their most fundamental form, and working out their logical interconnections (if any), might, paradoxically, give us all a new sense of direction. (We have tools for carrying out such analysis more rigorously and on a larger scale than was previously possible.) But there are, of course, other, quite different and equally valid motives for such a project. As i mentioned, there would be much controversy about what does or does not count as a "philos-ophical problem," (and, for that matter, what counts as philosophy) but that is just more grist for the mill. We wouldn't be trying to solve or or settle anything, only to described it and lay out its logical structure as perspicuously (and sympathetically) as possible. One might think of it as "philosophical house-keeping," but, I think it might prove quite ingeresting and productive.

The mechanics would be strightforward. One sets up a web page with the necessary resources, and we all contribute our "input." Funding would be nice, but I don't foresee any expense other than our time and the cost of the web site.

So far, your response is the only one possted

Thanks for your interests..

Greg