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Oversimplification in Philosophy

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2019.93025    222 Downloads   508 Views


This paper maintains that oversimplification has been a common and recurring problem in philosophy that has not only been ignored, but has also gone largely unnoticed. The paper sets forth various examples of oversimplification which include the one sentence moral tests proposed by Kant and Mill, moral ideas such as psychological egoism and Nietzsche’s will to power which oversimplify the complexity and variety of moral motivations, the Naturalistic Fallacy whereby it is claimed that what is natural is thereby good, various monisms beginning with the pre-Socratics and including Hegel, and our modern-day preferred method of oversimplification by the use of analogical arguments. The paper argues that these oversimplifications have come at considerable expense as they have often kept us trapped in dead-end and counterproductive theories and perspectives which have taken us away from truth and understanding instead of toward them.

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Firestone, R. (2019) Oversimplification in Philosophy. Open Journal of Philosophy, 9, 396-427. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2019.93025.

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