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Context : OnTaxonomy

Quora Answer : Why is philosophy rooted in philosophers rather than ideas?

Jan 23, 2019

It's not "rooted in" philosophers.

It's "indexed by" philosophers.

The problem is that philosophy is very amorphous. Ideas which appear in one context often find they can be usefully applied in completely different one. Or a classic book takes an excursion from epistemology to morality back to fundamental metaphysics.

Think of it like your music collection. You start by trying to sort things into "heavy rock", "soft rock", "electronic", "world", "ballads", "jazz" etc. And then you find that your favourite heavy rock singer from the 80s started doing jazz-tinged ballads in the 90s, made a pretty poor attempt to go electronic in the 2000s and is now comfortably making more adult-oriented soft rock and doing collaboration albums in Zimbabwe.

Sooner or later you give up trying to taxonomize by genre and move to just arranging by artists' name.

Same with philosophy. Taxonomizing by name is straightforward.

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