This is only true of certain types of philosophy -- analytic philosophy and its brethren in the 20th and 21st Centuries, and some systematic philosophers of earlier times.
Nietzsche is one of the most well-known counterexamples. Writing in an intuitive, aphoristic style, he was far from interested in any kind of systematization or formalism.
The playfulness of Derrida and the approaches of some other of the Postmodernists are also the antithesis of what this article claims philosophy is about.
The Pre-Socratics and Socrates himself were not interested in systematization or formalism either. Neither was most Eastern philosophy.
Philosophic interest in formalizing only rears its head in philosophy towards the end of the 19th Century with Frege and the logical-positivists (themselves ancestors to the Analytics) who followed him.
There's plenty of philosophy that just isn't interested in this.
On the other hand, if what the author is getting at is that philosophers tend to examine the questions and subjects that interest them in a deeper way than most other non-scientist do, then I would agree with that.
And if you want overboard rigor, look to the scholastics. Aquinas is nothing if not methodical. Duns Scotus gets inordinately detailed in his distinctions.
I would argue that rather than being typical, the Nietszche/Derrida/etc. continental sort of philosophy is just one half of the historical philosophy coin. The best philosophers have gone hand in hand with logical rigor and literary poise.
> you necessarily enter a metadiscourse
It's quite possible for metadiscourse to be also intelligible. No reason to write like a lunatic.
Edit: If we entertain for a moment Marx's thought of history being the natural history of mankind, we may assume that this natural history sediments into technological artifacts, for short, technology, machines. If we also assume some value for the concept of the moi, we may conclude that we put some of a resemblance to our own into these machines. There's a mutual inheritance in the description. And machines, which are are also kind of sediments of algorithms or symbolic forms in their own, adhere – at least to some degree – to the same preconditions. (This, BTW, is a great way of looking at 2001, A Space Odyssey.) There's something to be learned from exploring either of them. However, we may have to find appropriate methodology for each of them, according to the specific scope. Since the venture of describing the preconditions of the human psyche equals the endeavor of describing a scope from within this very scope, we also encounter Boges' paradox of the map at 1:1 scale, which doesn't do for a description. What to do about it? Necessarily, we'd have to resort to some analogies, but, at the same time, we'd have to invalidate them, in order to not fall prey to ontology. What's left? Probably a system which is built more on resonance than on conclusive description, entertained by the mutual relations and suspense of the various concepts, which, at the same time, provides proper meaning to these concepts. Some sort of a bootstrapping process. We try to talk about meaning and its constraints by the very process of making meaning. Which, BTW, is totally conclusive with post-structuralist epistemology, as long it is internally conclusive. (Mind that this is for the most in the 1950s and 1960s, at the height of the linguistic turn. – And it's a generation of French academics who were, at least to some extent, formed by the confrontation with Hegel and Heidegger, and by the example of Lévi-Strauss.)
If you read Aleister Crowley you will get to the same point: "this is so incomprehensible that it must have meaning. And after years of decyphering, there it is, actual meaning!".
Human beings are genetically formed to see patterns. If I generated a list of grammatically correct phrases combining random words, people would find meaning there too.
> a random word generator is a worthwhile source of valuable knowledge
Is obviously valse!
(I, on the other hand, do not understand, why certain economists are supposed to make any sense, just because their words are easily intelligible.)
P.S.: I should specify (previously supposing this was obvious from context), I'm distinctively talking about Lacan in terms of metapsychology and not as a psychoanalytical framework in the strict, therapeutical sense. Yes, here we may have to make a distinction. I'm not too sure, if I would prefer a Lacanian therapy. (Probably not.)
Psychology, as a science, is a very practical, statistical, straightforward field. Research does require intellectual sophistication, but psychotherapy is largely the application of proven prophylactic you better not mess too much with.
Some of the smartest psychologists tend to flock to the set of references that most eludes them.
So Lacanian psychology may be a good choice because smart people give the best advice.
A common criticism, to be sure; but not one with much evidence behind it. For instance, here's a good review of one of his better books, _The Politics of Friendship_: https://www.newyorker.com/books/second-read/what-jacques-der...
> It’s taken me years to read “The Politics of Friendship.” As I’ve inched my way through it, lines here and there have sent me to Derrida’s other writings, or have spurred my mind to chase random memories. I fix on the parts that sing, and I try to catch the gist of the parts that are too complicated for me. The book’s main appeal is the opportunity it provides to follow along as someone grapples with an ephemeral part of human experience. Doing so has come to feel more and more poignant as I have made my slow progress. At times, it seems as though Derrida is describing a bygone way of being, one racked with less anxiety about the bonds that tie us together. In an era of social media and fluid, proliferating channels of communication and exchange, the idea of friendship seems almost quaint, and possibly imperiled. In the face of abundant, tenuous connections, the instinct to sort people according to a more rigid logic than that of mere friendship seems greater than ever.
That doesn't sound like a charlatan. It sounds like a difficult author that few people have the patience or incentive to engage with -- like Heidegger or Wittgenstein, who somehow eschew the "charlatan" label while being much more technically demanding.
I've noticed that lots of people, and especially those with a background in STEM, seem to have lots of difficulty with any works written for specialists in humanities disciplines, preferring to pretend like the writing is the problem, not their lack of reading skills (because being able to read and interpret and understand specialist works is a skill above being able to read words) and knowledge of the discipline. On the other hand, when people go ''i cant read this math book meant for grad students, this book is bad'', they go ''well yes, its because you lack the expected knowledge that the math builds on''. But they do expect to be able to pick up books written by philosophers for philosophers without having to understand everything the book is in dialogue with.
you finding Derrida cryptic(which can describe much of the post modern french) is understandable, but calling him a charlatan makes little sense, you at that point would be calling much of the discipline a charlatan discipline. though in the contemporary his philosophies are frequently cited to be argued against, his concepts such as deconstruction of philosophy brought much to the table.
congratulations on your accolades but they don't really seem like rigorous studies to help you understand academic philosophy.
You're entirely right in thinking I have no real academic credentials in philosophy. I just wanted to point out where I was coming from since most people on Hacker News have a STEM background and you might have been making that assumption about me.
So I thought this information might be relevant for your argument. It turns out it is not, which is totally fine.
I mostly agree with Lukacz account that Nietzsche’s philosophy was actually a kind of knowing obfuscation of imperialist violence, dressed up in aphorism to make it all seem somehow heroic.
While he’s not of the analytic strain, his book “The Destruction of Reason” (from which the below is excerpted) is an excellent rebuttal of this kind of irrationalism in continental philosophy, from Nietzsche to Heidegger to Late Wittgenstein (all of which also informed Derrida).
Coming from a math background myself, this is a really great way to relate philosophy to something I'm used to thinking about. So many times in conversations I've noticed that people talk about the same fundamental ideas but use different language and constructs to express them, and end up thinking (mistakenly) they disagree with each other.
Sometimes these wrappers are easier to reason about. Sometimes, if the problem context is a foreign government's pending social credit system whose design and implementation is clouded by deceit and unknown consequences, all we can do is turn to Aristotle and ask, "[How] can we teach others to be good citizens?"
Don't take philosophy for the math-like thinking. Take math for that. Take it for the cool readings, discussions, and qt existentialist girls rarely found in compilers.
Take both math and philosophy, as both enrich your life and aren't interchangeable.
They try to treat concepts as if they were like mathematical symbols that they can reason precisely with. The problem is when they don't understand the concepts involved well-enough to be able to treat them in this way. This is often the case, given that the subject-matter is in philosophy.
So you end up with a situation where it looks like they're drawing conclusions in a rigorous fashion, but where it's actually a kind of garbage-in-garbage-out situation.
Precision is really important. But you have to acknowledge the level of precision that your level of understanding affords. Trying to be more precise than that makes things worse.
There is no answer. Those have answer like Maths or Physics is not superior but just left. What remains are the hard part. And we left with only with signpost and past journeys.
Philosophy is post-thinking. Nothing like maths.
If you’re trying to read math on Wikipedia, without having studied it, you’re going to have a bad time. Wikipedia’s math pages are better used as a reference to remind you of what you already know and give you a jumping-off point for related topics. They are not meant to teach you math.