Reflections on Philosophical Methodology

Larval Subjects .

Canine Full Body X-rayRecently I was asked what my methodology is.  This was the second time I’ve been asked this question and I confess that on both occasions it stopped me in my tracks.  On both occasions it was at speaking events devoted to disciplines outside of philosophy.  I suspect I was being asked a question about whether I deploy quantitative or qualitative research methodologies.  However, if this question startled me so much– and I’m still mulling over my reaction on both occasions –then this is because the question situates philosophy in a field of discourse quite foreign to philosophy.  The concept of methodology as it was asked for in this context– certainly philosophy has had methodologies such as dialectic, phenomenology, and deconstruction –seems to pertain to the investigation of an object that is empirically given.  I realize it’s dangerous to evoke the concept of the given in a philosophical context.  Here…

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