What is the history of philosophy and why is it important?

Journal of the History of Philosophy 40 (4):525-528 (2002)
Abstract
Richard A. Watson - What is the History of Philosophy and Why is it Important? - Journal of the History of Philosophy 40:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 40.4 525-528 Notes and Discussions What is the History of Philosophy and Why is it Important? The advent of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Journal of the History of Philosophy set me to thinking again about these old disputed questions. It seems obvious that what is unique to the history of philosophy is that it is history. It is specifically history of philosophical positions, principles, and arguments with no restrictions concerning who held them where or when, or what they are. The history of philosophy as history, then, is a discipline in which the philosophical positions, principles, and arguments of philosophers are presented, analyzed, and explained in the historical contexts of their times. One way to proceed is to ask and answer questions such as the following: Given our best understanding of the intellectual milieu and vernacular of the times, what did the philosopher say? Given ditto, what did the philosopher mean to say? Did he say what he meant to say? Did he support his position adequately or inadequately? What might or could the philosopher have said in the context of his times, either to improve or alter his position, or to avoid errors? How did the philosopher's contemporaries respond? Who had the better arguments? What developed philosophically out of..
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