It seems that most philosophers have taken their turn defining (and defending) the meaning and principles of the philosophical enterprise. What virtually all proposals have in common is that they presuppose that this question can be answered within the domain of the philosophical itself itself. In other words, we mostly have a history of philosophers philosophizing about philosophizing – in a word, meta-philosophy.
Meta-philosophy is, in a sense, founded on the assumption that only philosophy thinks, and therefore thinking about the meaning of the philosophical can only take place within the domain of the philosophical itself. There is something strange about this assumption. It seems as if meta-philosophy catches us in a circle. … Is it really the case that we can answer the question, “What is philosophy?” simply by philosophizing faster, stronger, or better and thus end only by duplicating what we were asking about? The problem with meta-philosophy is that, because we end up only philosophizing about philosophizing, we are never able to take a stand on what this is from the outside. The philosophical itself, because it remains the standpoint of inquiry, never truly succeeds in becoming an object of inquiry.