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About #philosophical on Undernet

The Philosophical Channel is, as its name suggests, devoted to philosophical discussion.  Philosophy covers much ground, as wikipedia's entry on the topic indicates, but it should be stressed that the objective of the Philosophical Channel is philosophical discussion - not merely discussion of philosophy per se.

This means it is intended that a certain form of discussion be cultivated within the channel.

Philosophical discussion is:

  • open and balanced, calm and rational.

  • based on supportable evidence and sound judgment.

  • discussion which aims towards better understanding on the part of each participant.

  • discussion in which criticism of weaknesses in an argument is not only expected, but is welcomed.

Philosophical discussion is not:

  • mindless.

  • rude and aggressive.

  • aimless discussion of conjecture which has no rational basis.

  • discussion which aims purely at compelling another to accept ones own points of view and prejudices.

Operators of the channel will aim to maintain high standards philosophical discussion at all times.  That does not mean that they cannot be disagreed with, on the contrary - no person should ever consider his or her views to be inviolate.  Sensible, rational and respectful criticism of points of view and evidentiary claims is important to foster solid critical thinking in everyone. 

Criticism should be respectful because we all think stupid things from time to time, and it is our thoughts and ideas that need to be addressed, rather than any other personal failings which are not relevant to a philosophical discussion.  By having our own ideas challenged, we gain the opportunity to think through our assumptions and by doing so we may gain a better understanding of what we believe and why.  As a result of such a challenge we may find we need to modify some of our assumptions, or we might find that we become more comfortable with our points of view and by force of reasoned argument assist our fellow philosophers in understanding why we hold our particular points of view.

To assist with establishing baselines for discussions, the following resources are recommended:

While it would be ideal that all topics of discussion could be discussed philosophically, experience shows that certain people don't seem capable of discussing certain topics with the intellectual detachment necessary for the conduct of philosophical discourse.  Where participants in a discussion are not willing to accept reasonable challenges to the assumptions on which their arguments rest, philosophical discussion become untenable and reverts to little more than sophistry and rhetoric (per definition 2b).  In such a situation, those who are not willing to challenge their own assumptions, or have them challenged, should be asked to refrain from the discussion, the line of discussion may be abandoned and, in certain situations, those unwilling to conduct discussions in a philosophical discussion will be asked to leave the channel temporarily.  It is hoped that the Philosophical Channel becomes a community in which each member takes on responsibility for sensible moderation of the discussion forum.

Note that this channel is but an babe in comparison to some of the more venerable channels around.  It is not intended to compete with any of those channels but is fully expected to complement them.  As the membership of the channel develops, so too will this support page.  Suggestions and comments are most welcome.

© 2007 Philosophical Channel (neopolitan)

Last update 2007-04-01