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I have a question. I translate a text from English to Russian. And I can not understand the meaning of the sentence. It's very difficult for me. Could you explain its meaning for me using simpler words?

My sentence:

"A chief point of interest that has emerged from modern attempts to characterize philosophy is the importance of distinguishing dialectical or analytical inquiries about meaning from empirical inquiries about facts"

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closed as general reference by MετάEd, FumbleFingers, Barrie England, Kris, StoneyB Sep 23 '12 at 14:56

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

There is no question of grammar or usage here. Any difficulty in understanding the sentence arises from lack of familiarity with the subject. You might try Stack Exchange Philosophy: philosophy.stackexchange.com/?as=1 – Barrie England Sep 23 '12 at 9:39
What @Barrie said. Arguably the distinction between dialectical and empirical enquiries isn't exactly commonplace General Knowledge, but it's essentially a matter of whether you try to figure things out by reasoning / "armchair philosophising" or by going out and actually observing / measuring. – FumbleFingers Sep 23 '12 at 13:15
Voting to close as "too localized". @BarrieEngland said it right. – Kris Sep 23 '12 at 14:01

The sentence says that there are two ways to examine or analyze something:

a) "dialectical or analytical inquiries about meaning," and
b) "empirical inquiries about facts"

More informally, these refer to (a) the discussion of ideas and opinions, and (b) the objective analysis of hard scientific data.

Your sentence is saying that, nowadays, when we attempt to define the scope of philosophy, it's important to keep those two distinct.

That's how I'd interpret it, at least, without any further context available.

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+1 "Any further context" is clearly "too localized" and off-topic on ELU. – Kris Sep 23 '12 at 13:59

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