Another conception of philosophy is as the study of argumentation. On this view, philosohpers aren’t concerned so much with the content of an argument as the validity of it. Content comes into play when assessing the soundness, but validity is primary. This view is probably useful pedagogically. When looking at texts, you can reconstruct the argument, assess it for validity, raise questions about its validity and/or soundness, and try to patch the argument. This is close to the practice of philosophy, at least at the undergraduate level. However, this view is sort of like formalism in mathematics. It makes philosophy seem like a logic game that one plays. It is also hard to understand what philosophical progress is and why different strands of philosophical thought have been explored. It gets something right, namely the importance of carefully and properly assessing arguments.

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