Caribbean Journal of Philosophy, Vol 6, No 1 (2014)

Philosophy and the Disciplines: The Borderlines

Francis Israel MINIMAH



This work examines the borderlines between philosophy in relation to the central concern of the disciplines. As a preliminary step towards our examination, we attempt to uncover the specific nature of philosophy on the basis of its subject matter. We argue that while philosophy asks ‘second order’ questions about the totality of reality, other disciplines ask ‘first order’ questions about different aspects of the same reality. In spite of this distinction however, the paper agrees that the disciplines though lacking in consensus over fundamentals share borderlines with philosophy in their areas of discourse. As the argument runs, the work posits that the central thread running through the disciplines including philosophy is their use of language as reflected in the meaning of words to depict social reality. The major difference is that while the practitioners of the disciplines are concerned with mere definitions or meaning of concepts, the philosopher from the stand point of Wittgenstein’s reaction to the Cartesian conception of the mind and his ideas on language goes beyond mere definitions or meaning to the analysis of concepts that we employ in the human world of our day to day experience. In this way, philosophy to a greater extent than the disciplines leads to the improvement in language for the purpose of expressing and communicating our ideas.

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