And all knowledge, when separated from justice and virtue, is seen to be cunning and not wisdom.
– Plato, The Republic
Philosophy is crucial to analytics because it reminds us that there should be a purpose (‘justice and virtue’) to our methods. In data analytics, there’s no point in using complicated or seemingly impressive methods if those methods do not solve the insights that were desired in the first place. Interestingly, in analytics it’s often more valuable to remove information (i.e. ‘cunning’ noise) than add more complexity. This concept of benefiting from reduction allows us to focus on the essential, and eliminate aspects that may diverge us from our initial analytical goals (i.e. ‘wisdom’).