Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Philosophy

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We need to consider changing the way influences are dealt with in infoboxes. Significant philosophers like Hegel accumulate 80+ people who were influenced by them (and I'm sure many more could be added), but there's little indication of the nature of the influence, and the lists quickly become unwieldy, particularly where someone is significant enough to have influenced much of what came afterwards. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:29, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

It actually works the other way round. You first make a proposal and after consensus has been reached, you start enforcing the new policy. In any case, there are useful comments to be found here and here; see also my recent comments here. --Omnipaedista (talk) 12:27, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure anything can be done to adequately address Nikkimaria's concern. I think we are fated to live with that situation and perhaps we should be grateful that the issue arises in an infobox, rather than in a text. Removing the parameter from the infobox is not an option. There is at least one project that uses this parameter to map influences of philosophers graphically (and you should check it out). Also, just to be forthright about things in general, I have discovered on Wikipedia, that the best way to guarantee for sure that the change you want will never be accomplished... is to make a proposal to do it. The rule is be bold, revert, then discuss. WP:BRD Greg Bard (talk) 16:33, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
Given that those entries are shown collapsed, they seem more or less harmless to me. Looie496 (talk) 17:05, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
The 'Influenced' infobox basically serves the purpose of listing a philosopher's positive influence on scholars. This kind of information is most of the time, factually accurate and verifiable and citations already exist for most claims that are likely to be challenged. The existence of the project referred to by Gregbard (a website that extracts metadata from Wikipedia pages) is a very good reason why this parameter should not be deprecated. Moreover, it is vital for that project to include influences that came via the study of works or books, not just via physical contact between two philosophers; anyone knowledgeable in the history of philosophy knows that the most important influences of a thinker are not via physical contact. As I wrote on the talk page of Giordano Bruno there are currently 1,568 articles that employ Infobox philosopher. I have worked on improving most of them (removing deprecated infobox parameters and filling in the place of birth and death, school/tradition, and influences/influenced parameters). My main source has always been the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (the most reputable reference work available in the literature); occasionally, I also used peer-reviewed research papers. While, I did include citations to the research papers, unfortunately, I did not do the legwork to provide any citations to the Encyclopedia. But I do intend to provide citations for every single entry and am still working on it.
Somewhat offotopic but the graphing project is downright depressing; the relationships demonstrated bouncing from absurd to travesty. Some look like fashion statements, like Hegel eclipsing the freshman ne'er-do-well Aristotle or Noam Chomsky edging past that nobody Thomas Aquinas. Some are obviously fashion statements, like placing Karl Marx bigger than Adam Smith. Others border on unethical, like Otto Weininger dwarfing simpleton Karl Popper. And quite a few are absurd on their face, like how the little dots contributed from nobodies FA Hayek, Robert Nozick, Ludwig von Mises, Edmund Burke, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Paine, GE Moore, AJ Ayer, A. Whitehead, George Berkeley and Daniel Dennett could all fit inside Murray Rothbard's death star on the graph.

Methinks there are some issues here. (although with a few simple tweaks it could be made quite a bit more robust, like assigning a weight to the influences of influences). Jaydubya93 (talk) 16:29, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

If no-one objects I am going to undo Nikkimaria's unilateral mass removals (removals of already sourced and easily verifiable material as I wrote here). I also propose we change the documentation of the Template:Infobox philosopher since it does not reflect what has been common practice among the active members of Wikiproject Philosophy since the inception of the infobox in 2005: the documentation says that "It is a requirement that any entry in the influences/influenced parameter be explained and sourced in the article text." In practice, this not what we do. A list is a list. A list of notable ideas or a list of influences should be sourced if it is dubious per WP:V, but need not be in the form of prose. The purpose of that list is to offer a quick glance or easy navigation between different articles. It would be nice to have this piece of information in prose form as well (and eventually we will have it), but this should not be an absolute requirement. --Omnipaedista (talk) 11:39, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it should - a list is not meaningful if you cannot identify why entries are on the list, and standards like WP:DUE and WP:RS still apply to these parameters. I'm not suggesting that the parameters be deprecated, but these agreed-upon standards (which are supported by previous discussions regarding the template) need to be consistently applied. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:15, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
The influences/influenced section of infoboxes is important in philosophy. It immediately tells philosophers and philosophy students (the groups that probably count for the bulk of the readership of these articles) a lot about the subject of the article. There's no need for it to be invariably laboured in the body too. Nikkimaria, if you've been removing these parameters, please stop and revert yourself. WP:V is policy and says that sources are needed for material challenged or likely to be challenged, and it's a built-in assumption of the policy that the challenge will be reasonable (not coming from someone who is removing material en masse). SlimVirgin (talk) 18:43, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
I've looked more closely at some of Nikkimaria's edits, and she does seem to be right about some of them, and perhaps all. Nikkimaria, I apologize for posting the above without looking closely first; I was reacting to the en masse aspect. Perhaps we all need to be vigilant about making sure these parameters don't get out of control, because then the parameter does become useless in terms of providing an overview of someone's place in the history of philosophy. If someone has influenced just about everyone, it isn't helpful to start listing names.
I know that when I see people adding names, I often don't revert if it's not an article I'm otherwise involved in, but perhaps we all ought to be more willing to do that. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:08, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Here's a good example. I added all of those names (minus one or two); and I accept the burden to provide reliable sources for every one of them. I still think though that sloppily removing any name in those lists that does not appear in the article body is not helpful in any way. Challenge was not reasonable in at least half of the recently edited articles I looked at. --Omnipaedista (talk) 21:12, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
To draw an analogy: when we list an academic's notable doctoral students we usually include all those who are notable enough to have an article of their own, which is sufficient filtering in most cases (e.g., see Andrey Kolmogorov; cf. list of doctoral students). In the case of a philosopher, I usually include in the 'influenced' list scholars who are both notable enough to have an article of their own and whose work was significantly influenced by that philosopher as per reliable sources. Those two criteria usually suffice to keep a list reasonably small (e.g., see for example Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg). The cases where a list can become unwieldy are about a dozen out of the 1,568 articles employing the template. --Omnipaedista (talk) 21:38, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
This is how Marx was dealt with; Nikkimaria removed the previous list and left List of Marxists in 'Influenced'. This is a terrible solution. Deleuze, Bourdieu, and Kropotkin were influenced by Marx but they are not Marxists. Moreover, we cannot have a separate list pages for philosophers' followers; e.g., 'List of philosophers and scholars influenced by Deleuze/Bourdieu/Kropotkin' so that we can link the respective infobox parameters to them. --Omnipaedista (talk) 11:04, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Banno inserted the annotation: "Entries in Influences, Influenced and notable idea should be explained in the main text. Those that are not mentioned in the main text may be deleted." on 16 July 2006. This addition to the documentation was neither the result of a prior discussion nor does it reflect common practice. --Omnipaedista (talk) 13:24, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
It does reflect common practices and standards wiki-wide. Looking at the implementation, though, makes it clear that "a dozen" is a significant underestimation of potential unwieldiness, an that in many cases your proposed criteria are not being followed; perhaps that would be one way of improving current practice? Nikkimaria (talk) 00:43, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I think it's fair enough to ask for sources, but I see no reason to insist that it also be expanded in the text. Material can be in leads and infoboxes without needing to be repeated; indeed that is one of the points of an infobox, namely to highlight key "facts at a glance" that might require no unpacking and might be of interest to a reader. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:12, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Facts that require no unpacking are one thing; however, there is a very big difference between such facts and what we are discussing here. That an element has a particular atomic weight, a boat a certain length, etc, are simple facts and can be presented in the infobox without further explanation; however, with influences there is always the question of how the influence occurred or manifested, according to whom the influence exists, and other details that do require unpacking if the information is to be meaningful and encyclopedic. Nikkimaria (talk) 01:46, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
In philosophy, not really. If we're told that Robert Garner was influenced by John Rawls, and that John Rawls was influenced by Kant, those are very meaningful connections to philosophers and philosophy students (the main readership of these articles). They convey ideas that would otherwise take hundreds of words to explain.
Often those connections will end up being explained in the article (sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly), and sometimes not at all. Everything depends on the local decisions of the writers, how long the article is, which direction it takes, and so on. Attempts to control this kind of thing centrally don't really work. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:21, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

(outdent) I agree with SlimVirgin. Attempts to control these lists centrally does not work. In the meanwhile, Nikkimaria keeps going against consensus and continues her disservice to our readers (philosophy students). She blindly applies an obsolete usage note, and despite the fact that she makes an appeal to WP:V, most of the time challenge is not reasonable. The examples are countless. I will just mention a handful of them. She removed Descartes from Chomsky's influences (ahem... Cartesian linguistics); she removed Meillassoux from the list of philosophers influenced by Badiou (Meillassoux is a former student of Badiou who based his whole theoretical framework on his intent to oppose Badiou); she removed Casimir Lewy from the list of philosophers influenced by Wittgenstein (Lewy is Wittgenstein's doctoral student [1]); see also [2] and [3]. This sort of removals is downright unconstructive (it is of interest to note that she always reverts with the uninformative edit summary "fmt, rm unsupported"). After more than 20 days after her proposal to start enforcing Banno's usage note, the consensus remains against this usage note and in favor of long-standing project-specific practice. I am going to change the template documentation to reflect the consensus of this discussion: "Entries in influences, influenced, and notable ideas should be reliably sourced if they are challenged or likely to be challenged". --Omnipaedista (talk) 08:50, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

If you'd like to take the time to appropriately source and explain those entries in the article, go ahead. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:26, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
See Cartesian linguistics, Quentin Meillassoux, and Casimir Lewy for explantions. Sources can be found there. In the meanwhile could you explain this edit? Your actions are against consensus. --Omnipaedista (talk) 11:53, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
In some cases you deleted already verified information; examples include: Emma Goldmann (, Edward Said ( and David Hume (,_3rd_Earl_of_Shaftesbury#cite_note-8) to name a few. Please do not camouflage this as a trivial WP:BURDEN issue.
The explanations you are asking most of the time can be found in the article of a philosopher's descendants. Are you actually suggesting that they should be found in the article of the philosopher-ancestor? This would constitute content forking and would be in violation of WP:UNDUE. --Omnipaedista (talk) 12:19, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
It would in no way be either content forking or undue: if someone has had a significant influence, whether it's "X's ideas impacted all subsequent Y philosophers" or "A taught B", that should be explained and sourced at the article about that "ancestor". A bluelink to another article does not constitute a citation; material must be supported in each article in which it appears. As for the "consensus" you suggest, 1-2 people is not sufficient to change a long-standing requirement supported by both discussion at the template, and by larger conversations and guidelines wiki-wide. Nikkimaria (talk) 16:34, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
I think Nikkimaria has a point but I am not sure how to go about doing this --Guerillero | My Talk 18:39, 25 January 2014 (UTC)
There's no requirement that sourced material can't be added to an article unless it's discussed in full. Adding influences with a source to an infobox is often very helpful. Whether to expand on it in the article will depend on whether anyone wants to, whether there's much to say about it, and so on, all local decisions. Someone may see that influence and its source and decide to write something about it, which is less likely to happen if it's deleted. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:45, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Promotion of Leonard F. Wheat's non-mainstream views in several Hegel-related articles

For the past few months Atticusattor has been aggressively promoting the non-mainstream views of Wheat (2012). At least twelve articles have been affected so far. The editor has so far refused to explain their editing activity with reference to Wikipedia policy. I just reverted one of their edits which was in blatant violation of WP:NOR, WP:UNDUE, WP:INTEGRITY, and WP:RS/AC. Details can be found on Atticusattor's talk page [4] and on the following two talk-pages: Talk:Thesis, antithesis, synthesis#Vandalism plus Incompetence and Talk:The Phenomenology of Spirit#Spirit Identified. --Omnipaedista (talk) 14:32, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

At least three editors (including me) have been participating in the discussions above since early November. Atticusattor still refuses to engage in productive discussion with us. I am going το revert many of his edits with caution; some specific pieces of information he inserted are adequately sourced, but most of them either constitute original research or have Wheat 2012 as their sole source—the problem being that Wheat 2012 is contradicted by most (if not all) English-speaking authoritative sources on Hegel. --Omnipaedista (talk) 21:03, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I support the undoing of much or all of Atticusator's work on articles related to Hegel (and Marx, although I believe that he attempts were less successful there). I found his edits to be contrary to NPOV and attempted to reason with him early on but was not successful. — goethean 01:58, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I completed the removal. His work was so rife with POV that it was not salvageable. --Omnipaedista (talk) 09:02, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
He's still at it.[5]goethean 17:58, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to request that project members review Atticusattor's latest edits at Dialectical materialism and Phenomenology of Spirit. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 21:33, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
While I'm not typically a Wikipedia editor, I am a Philosophy Professor. Hegel is the perfect example of an author who can be interpreted in so many ways, each with their own valid and stimulating defenses. Seeing somebody so boldly state one interpretation as solid fact is not just misleading to the general population, but it is also disheartening. It takes the dialectic out of Hegel's work and replaces it with simple lecture.

Ludic fallacy - AfD?

I was just over at Ludic fallacy and I found the article very wanting. I'm not seeing any thing that establishes notability here or on the web. It's a bit tough, because it's a pop culture book, so there are a number of places that reference it, but the idea is exclusively tied to Nicholas Nassim Taleb. From what I can tell, this idea is not an ongoing scholarly concern and does not exist independent of the corpus of Taleb's work. I'm thinking that it should be merged into another article, either The Black Swan or the article on Taleb himself. I thought I'd get a second opinion from the relevant wikiproject before officially making this proposal on the page. 0x0077BE (talk) 00:15, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

It's sourced better than most fallacy articles, a bit too long...Machine Elf 1735 04:50, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Well for one thing it's not a fallacy per se, he just calls it that. The article is about a concept in a single book. Where the sources are relevant, they're referring only to that book. The question is whether the concept in the book is notable by itself. Certainly if kept it needs to be entirely rewritten. 0x0077BE talk/contrib 05:06, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that it needs to be rewritten, but the article should probably stay. (It could be rolled into the book's article, but I don't think that's needed.) The examples are terrible, though: in the first example, as written, the fallacious result is actually correct and the supposedly correct result is a non sequitur. CRGreathouse (t | c) 17:17, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the examples are insane. From a personal perspective, it's not clear at all that this is anything but a crazy strawman, and the examples show that. The definition is very vague - it seems to me that the closest thing to a clear definition is "using the wrong model" - i.e. your model is not analogous to reality in a critical dimension, in which case it's the same as a false analogy.
That said, it's not for me to decide to delete this because my reasoning shows it's the same thing - I'm just looking to see if philosophy/logic can give me an idea about the degree to which this is a concept that's been adopted among mainstream philosophers. Based on the fact that Taleb's own examples are fallacious in themselves (the examples in the article were taken from his book) and the fact that even being generous in interpreting what he means by "ludic fallacy", it's not really a distinct fallacy, I highly suspect that this concept has not been taken up and used independently, and as such is not likely to be notable on its own merits. Can those in favor of keeping the article suggest anything that would indicate that anyone but Taleb and people explicitly referencing Taleb and the Black Swan are taking this concept up? 0x0077BE talk/contrib 17:31, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
I quite agree. (Sorry, I've been away from Wikipedia.) - CRGreathouse (t | c) 22:17, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Learned minds and extra eyes requested at Brian Leiter

Hello WikiProject!

Brian Leiter, a BLP article within your scope needs help in establishing a neutral criticism section. There have been concerns that the article's subject and his contemporaries may be editing the article to conform criticism to a specific POV, and that this has been going on for a few years. Anyhow, your expertise is welcome. Regards, Cyphoidbomb (talk) 21:49, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Popular pages tool update

As of January, the popular pages tool has moved from the Toolserver to Wikimedia Tool Labs. The code has changed significantly from the Toolserver version, but users should notice few differences. Please take a moment to look over your project's list for any anomalies, such as pages that you expect to see that are missing or pages that seem to have more views than expected. Note that unlike other tools, this tool aggregates all views from redirects, which means it will typically have higher numbers. (For January 2014 specifically, 35 hours of data is missing from the WMF data, which was approximated from other dates. For most articles, this should yield a more accurate number. However, a few articles, like ones featured on the Main Page, may be off).

Web tools, to replace the ones at tools:~alexz/pop, will become available over the next few weeks at toollabs:popularpages. All of the historical data (back to July 2009 for some projects) has been copied over. The tool to view historical data is currently partially available (assessment data and a few projects may not be available at the moment). The tool to add new projects to the bot's list is also available now (editing the configuration of current projects coming soon). Unlike the previous tool, all changes will be effective immediately. OAuth is used to authenticate users, allowing only regular users to make changes to prevent abuse. A visible history of configuration additions and changes is coming soon. Once tools become fully available, their toolserver versions will redirect to Labs.

If you have any questions, want to report any bugs, or there are any features you would like to see that aren't currently available on the Toolserver tools, see the updated FAQ or contact me on my talk page. Mr.Z-bot (talk) (for Mr.Z-man) 04:49, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Request for comment on moral responsibility

You may be interested to comment upon this RfC about moral responsibility. Brews ohare (talk) 22:03, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Four-paragraph leads -- a WP:RfC on the matter

Hello, everyone. There is a WP:RfC on whether or not the leads of articles should generally be no longer than four paragraphs (refer to WP:Manual of Style/Lead section for the current guideline). As this will affect Wikipedia on a wide scale, including WikiProjects that often deal with article formatting, if the proposed change is implemented, I invite you to the discussion; see here: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Lead section#RFC on four paragraph lead. Flyer22 (talk) 17:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

AfC submission - 03/03

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Marie-Jo THIEL. FoCuSandLeArN (talk) 15:44, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Is this draft about a notable topic?

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Benacerraf's identification problem - I have asked WikiProject Mathematics the same question. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 13:27, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Peer review request for Winkler County nurse whistleblower case

I've put in a peer review request for the above article. I'm a nurse, but I don't have subject matter expertise in ethics or whistleblowing. This is a GA that I am thinking of nominating for FA at some point. I'm hoping to ensure that the treatment of the issues is robust enough for FA. I would love any comments that you have to offer. EricEnfermero HOWDY! 20:27, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

New article Enaction (philosophy)

The topic of Enaction (philosophy) is now an article. Editor Snowded has deleted a good deal more than half of this article, and so far has provided no reasons on the Talk page for his actions other than his personal unsupported opinions. We need some other eyes on this discussion to form a good article. Brews ohare (talk) 16:11, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

I gave clear reasons Brews and was supported by another editor who you invited to contribute so please try and keep to the facts. The whole cycle is starting with you again here as we had with Free Will and other articles. Editors engage, reject your proposals, you engage in extensive discussion on the talk page, no changes result. Then you take the rejected material and try it on another one, or create one. On Free Will Pfhorest tried to salvage some of your material and you rejected it. You find it impossible to work with other editors. More eyes would indeed be welcome, not just here but on the overall pattern of your behaviour which is almost identical to that which got you permanently banned from Physics articles. ----Snowded TALK 21:56, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Readers can help with this article, and your 'version' of events is irrelevant. Brews ohare (talk) 22:48, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/New Deism

Dear philosophers: This Afc submission will soon be deleted as a stale draft. Is this a notable topic, and should the draft be kept and improved instead? —Anne Delong (talk) 05:03, 6 April 2014 (UTC)

Doesn't look notable to me. Seems to be largely limited to [6] which looks like self-publication. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 06:49, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for taking time to check this out. I will let it go. —Anne Delong (talk) 18:39, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
For the record, I'm sure Beth Houston is a perfectly fine scholar and philosopher. But that doesn't mean her particular theories are "notable" in the Wikipedia sense; indeed, they are probably well-worthy of inclusion on Deism or other articles. I've always felt that Wikipedia should change the name of requirements like "notable". Really, it's just a term of art, and being non-notable says nothing bad, but in common parlance being "non-notable" sounds derogatory. E.g., if you're reading a review of Houston's book that starts with "Houston's work is not notable" then you're probably reading a very negative review. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 23:26, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes. really what's meant is "insufficiently documented" or "not widely cited" or something like that. —Anne Delong (talk) 21:37, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, if anyone wants to add transfer some information and sources to another article, this title could always be made into a redirect to that article. —Anne Delong (talk) 15:13, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Peer review for David Malet Armstrong

I've just submitted a peer review request for the article on Australian metaphysician and epistemologist David Malet Armstrong which I'd like to take to GA status at some point. Feedback and help would be appreciated. —Tom Morris (talk) 05:21, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Patrick Grim

Dear philopsophers: Here's another old Afc submission. Is this a notable professor, and should the article be kept and improved instead of being deleted as a stale draft? —Anne Delong (talk) 21:33, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

Deletion of philosophy article

The newly written article Enaction (philosophy) is under discussion for deletion. The discussion is found here. If there are active members in the philosophy project, they should contribute to this discussion. As it stands, this article will disappear. Brews ohare (talk) 16:18, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia talk:Articles for creation/Richard William Paul

Dear philosophers: Is this old Afc submission about a notable philosopher, or should it be deleted as a stale draft? —Anne Delong (talk) 01:25, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Invitation to Participate in a User Study - Final Reminder

Would you be interested in participating in a user study of a new tool to support editor involvement in WikiProjects? We are a team at the University of Washington studying methods for finding collaborators within WikiProjects, and we are looking for volunteers to evaluate a new visual exploration tool for Wikipedia. Given your interest in this Wikiproject, we would welcome your participation in our study. To participate, you will be given access to our new visualization tool and will interact with us via Google Hangout so that we can solicit your thoughts about the tool. To use Google Hangout, you will need a laptop/desktop, a web camera, and a speaker for video communication during the study. We will provide you with an Amazon gift card in appreciation of your time and participation. For more information about this study, please visit our wiki page ( If you would like to participate in our user study, please send me a message at Wkmaster (talk) 01:48, 15 April 2014 (UTC).

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