When Should Philosophers Be Silent?
AbstractAre there general precepts governing when philosophers should not conduct inquiry on a given topic? When, if ever, should a philosopher just be silent? In this paper we look at a number of practical, epistemic, and moral arguments for philosophical silence. Some are quite general, and suggest that it is best never to engage in philosophical inquiry, while others are more domain – or context – specific. We argue that these arguments fail to establish their conclusions. We do, however, try to identify and defend several substantive constraints on philosophical dialogue and inquiry. In practice, though, respecting these constraints needn’t lead to much philosophical silence