Prescription, Reason and Force

The Electric Agora

By Daniel A. Kaufman

Philosophy is largely a normative discipline, which means that philosophers expend a good amount of energy telling you what you ought to believe, say, and do.  Just look at the concepts with which philosophy is most preoccupied: ‘truth’ – something you should believe – ‘justification’ – a reason you should accept – ‘good’ – something you should value – ‘right’ – something you should do – ‘justice’ something you should receive – ‘authority’ – someone you should obey.  Even the business of defining terms and concepts, philosophers’ favorite pastime, has a prescriptive mode: provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the application of a term and you’ve also determined all the things to which it does not apply. Define ‘X’ a certain way, and you can be certain that some philosopher, somewhere will tell you that something that doesn’t fulfill the definition shouldn’t be called “X.”


View original post 1,855 more words


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s