The functions of philosophy are the uses of the subject to us as individuals and as members of a society. Some contemporary thinkers called the Analytic philosophers see philosophy as a study that essentially simplifies and analyses issues and statements pertaining to other subjects in order to enable us understand them better. The functions of philosophy are explained as follows: 1. Analytical Function This has to do with the analysis and clarification of ideas, issues, and statements to enable us understand the subject matters of other disciplines.
This analytical function is considered to be the primary function of philosophy. 2. Speculative and Normative Function The mind is a very essential instrument for doing philosophy. The mind is one gift to man which enables him to think about himself, the people around him and the world in general. With it he can speculate about things he is not sure of; he can imagine things that are possible and even those that are not possible. It is to be noted however, that, when we think about things or speculate on issues it is done within the context of our social and cultural environment.
3. Inspirational Function The educational process is constantly inspired by philosophers. Such works as Plato’s Republic and others like it have become the reference book for many educators because they obtain a lot of insight from these books to guide their activities. For one thing, every society has its ideal and thus, strives to attain it. Plato’s ideal in the Republic is one in which education serves as an important criterion for assigning social positions and responsibilities.
It is therefore, believed that, people should be educated in order to enable them achieve self-fulfillment. Even though Plato’s society does not pretend to strive for equality of all people, it is still a model to inspire the Kenyan educator in his effort to bring about a measure of equality in society. 4. Prescriptive Function Every nation has its problems which call for solution. It is expected that every one would contribute to the best of his ability.
Although philosophy has a lot to contribute, philosophers are sometimes excluded from the decision making process. This appears to have made the situation worse. For example, before adopting a new educational or social policy in the country, one would expect that philosophers would be included in the planning. Such contributions would benefit all concerned. Some educational philosophers in the country hold the view that the poverty of Kenya’s philosophical base is responsible for our technological under-development.
They also blame the country’s social political instability on the weakness of its philosophical foundation. Philosophical prescription is therefore, made to help to overcome these difficulties. Indeed every society expects some guidance from its philosophers, especially in education. It is on this score that philosophy is made compulsory in all Teacher Education and Law Program. 5. Coordinating Function Since it is well known that all other disciplines are generated from philosophy, philosophy cannot be seen as competing with its offspring.
In view of the fact that these disciplines have established their knowledge base solidly, philosophy has mapped out for itself other responsibilities. The fact that there exist at present such area as philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, philosophy of law and philosophy of education among others, shows the contribution that philosophy still makes to learning. Consequently, the coordinating role of philosophy in articulating the knowledge base of these disciplines should not leave anyone in doubt about the prescriptive function of philosophy.