What theoretical underpinnings, if any, connect Philosophy with Linguistics?

I am curious about any similarities or assumptions even in the two fields that may link them. I suppose formal semantic analyses may be one area (broadly speaking) but perhaps there are others…?

I suppose I am just curious where philosophy begins and linguistics ends and vice-versa, when it comes to dividing up the fields.

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Does Burke’s political philosophy actually endorse a kind of totalitarianism?

I am reading The Great Debate; Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the birth of right and left by Yuval Levin (2014). It’s a pleasant read, and substantial too!

However, Levin writes something very surprising about Burke. He notes “Burke’s insistence that the core of the regime must not be questioned or open to inspection …”

This sounds totalitarian, and contrasts with my understanding of Burke. Yet Levin is elsewhere nothing if not balanced. So is that a fair depiction of Burke’s position? Did Burke somewhere write anything like that?

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‘What to do?’ versus ‘Who to be?’ and the focus of moral philosophy

In Normative Ethics, Shelly Kagan writes:

I have suggested that the central question of moral philosophy as a whole, and of normative ethics in particular, is how one should live. I take this question to be sufficiently general that it is an open matter what an adequate answer would concentrate on. Plausibly enough, one might think that an adequate answer would primarily be concerned with issues about what one should do and how one should act. But one might hold that an adequate answer would concentrate instead on describing what kind of person one should be, rather than what one should do. And there are other possibilities as well.

What are these other possibilities? And what is the precise difference between “describing what kind of person one should be” and “what one should do”?

I don’t understand this passage because it seems to me that “what one should do” covers everything.

Here is my reasoning: “what I should do” covers all my actions. The things about me that I do not “do” are my current state, my involuntary behavior, and my internal involuntary reactions (e.g. my heart beating, spontaneous thoughts).

I have no control over my current state; it’s just how I am at the current moment. I can control my future state only via things I “do”. Similarly, the only way I can control my involuntary behavior and internal reactions is also via things I “do” in the present (e.g. deep breaths to slow my heart rate) to change my current state and indirectly affect my future involuntary behavior. Because this behavior is involuntary I can never affect it directly.

So it seems that “what kind of person should I be?” is the same as “what should I do?” since the only way I can affect what kind of person I am is by doing things. And everything I do affects what kind of person I am in the future.

What am I misunderstanding about Kagan’s claim that there are multiple possible focuses for answers to the question of how one should live?

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Really original ideas in philosophy papers?

Plagiarism is wrong, no question. Searching the internet before writing a paper might help, but philosophy is done not only in English. There are philosophy publications of all sorts in other languages than English. There are also countless unpublished essays, papers of some students who might have accidentally had the same idea before etc.

My question is, when writing a philosophy paper, how can one make sure that the the idea is really original and has not been addressed by someone else before in one way or the other?

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The Euthyphro Dilemma (complete philosophy newbie here)

I have never taken a philosophy course or even asked a philosophy question in my life, although I do have some experience with mathematics and some logic. So, permit me to ask a question that is not likely well thought out or even relevant to anything:

I was doing some leisurely reading on “The Euthyphro Dilemma”, where Socrates (or somebody?) says something like:

“Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?”

Now, either way is supposedly a bad option for anybody who believes in an all-knowing, moral God. On one hand, if God wills acts that are morally good because they’re good, then God is not as omnipotent as he/she may seem: There is indeed a third party above God that determines what is moral or not.

However, the other option does not, to me, seem so damning as it first seems. That is, it seems that God “has an out” here. Suppose it is the case that things are morally good simply because they are willed by God. It is at this point where somebody may say, well, then morals are simply arbitrary and made up.

But what if God responds to this accusation by saying, “I decided that X was moral because of Y. And I decided that Y was moral because of Y+1. And Y+1 is moral because of Y+2, etc.”, ad infinitum. In essence, you can never claim that God has made a truly arbitrary choice, as God can point to an endless chain of reasoning. And choosing this endless chain of reasoning could also be justified by an endless chain of reasoning.

The only way I see that this can be resolved is if for some reason there is some chain of reasoning which itself cannot be further justified by any other chain of reasoning, in which case we can finally pin down God and call his choice of X being moral as arbitrary.

Does anybody have any ideas on this?

Thank you for your time, and once again I apologize for what is likely a not very well-informed question. I don’t even know which tags to apply to this thing…

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What, if anything, is the difference between ethics and moral philosophy?

Are the terms ‘Ethics’ and ‘Moral Philosophy’ different in extension as terms in philosophy? Some Departments of Philosophy have courses with titles like “Introduction to Ethics” and others with titles like “Introduction to Moral Philosophy.” Likewise, one sees both terms used in the titles of introductory textbooks and anthologies. Are they synonymous, or are they tracking a distinction?

I don’t mean ‘ethics’ in the sense relevant to the Code of Ethics of one or another professional discipline (such as Law or Engeneering); I mean to ask about the terms as used in philosophy.

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How inaccurate is Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy?

I finished reading A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell a while ago. Not being an expert by any stretch I thought it was very good (informative, accessible, enjoyable etc..). But I have read in a number of different places that it isn’t actually accurate. Most recently Anthony Kenny noted that it wasn’t overburdened by accuracy (but it was a great introduction just to enthuse students) and Peter Adamson in his History of Philosophy podcast noted the same in a brief aside. The reviews section in wikipedia points to the same.

So the question is – is there sections of it (chapters) that are particular inaccurate so should be read with a pinch or salt. Or is it a more general mood to the work (e.g. is it Whiggish – for instance his own area pf interest logical analysis is at the end – does this represent his interpretation of the end of philopsophy). Is it possible give a high level summary of corrections to the work or is that too big a task?

Just to add clarity – i’m only interested in the accuracy of the philosophy chapters not the more historical chapters.

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What are the main errors of Bertrand Russell’s *A History of Western Philosophy*?

This discussion of A History of Western Philosophy complains about its errors and omissions, but doesn’t give examples of the former. A previous question asked “how inaccurate” Russell’s book was, and the answers indicated the primary areas where it errs are in early Greek and Mediaeval philosophy. But what are the main specific errors, on these topics or any others? For instance, did he exaggerate the extent to which Mediaeval theodicies were panglossian? (That’s just an example I invented to illustrate why this question isn’t a duplicate.)

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OOP Encapsulation Philosophy

Is it fair to say that it is good practice to default everything to private up when defining a class?

For example, for my public interface I set my class something like this:

class foo {
    private var x
    private var y

    //even get and set are private, 
    //public only if necessary
    private get/set method for variables

    //main function
    private coreFunc () {...}

    //helper function 
    public  callCoreFunc() {

I’m used (and got used from my algorithm teacher) that everything in a class should be private, except for the methods that the user need to call (with wrapped helped function.)

Is this a good way to see “public interface” or is this too strict?

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Where did Rorty claim no essential difference between Philosophy and Literary Criticism/Theory?

  1. What’s the source for this comment?

Rorty infamously claimed (in so many words) that there is no essential difference between philosophy and litcrit.

  1. Has any other philosophers argued this?

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