Metaphilosophy: A What and A Why

Di Kristie Dotson

In: Feminist Metaphilosophy L , No. 2 ( 2021 )

Sezione Saggi / Articles


Metaphilosophy, when done well, transforms philosophy into projects. It unveils philosophical beliefs and assumptions, translates beliefs into motivations and reasons. It can be frighteningly revealing. I prefer it to philosophy. In this paper, I primarily outline an approach to metaphilosophy, offering a metaphilosophical account that tracks a story (and its echoes) about awakened speculation that I consider broadly philosophical. Here, I recount a couple of experiences, in Black feminist fashion, to explore a root of my philosophical impulses. I narrate my turn to ‘do philosophy’ and ‘forward philosophies’ as a signature result of impactful experiences whose stories make sense of an open-ended wonder and a haunting drive in me. Metaphilosophy, on my account, is an activity that 1) treats our philosophical orientations and accounts like projects by storying their catalysts, extensions, and dimensions, and 2) puts those projects in perspective to illuminate how life and living exceed theory. Though this latter aspect of metaphilosophy is rarely acknowledged, it does not need intention to function.