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Nature of Philosophy Essay

Philosophy * Comes from the 2 Greek words « philos -love » and « sophia -wisdom » * tasks that requires a deliberate effort to seek the truth. * The act of questioning or wanting to know initiates philosophy, and most of the time we relate philosophy to thinking. * Knowledge of all things, through this ultimate causes, aquired through the use of reasoning * Is the intense and critical examination of beliefs and assumptions Philosopher * Lover of knowledge * A person who seeks knowledge for its own sake and not for any other motive. * Philosophers examine questions dealing with life’s most important aspects.

* Raphael (1994) describes philosophy as essentially divided into two branches: the Philosophy of knowledge and the Philosophy of practice. * The Philosophy of knowledge is attentive to critical examination of assumptions about matters of fact and argument. Included in this branch are: epistemology (study of knowledge), metaphysics (the study of ultimate reality), the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and philosophical logic. * Philosophy of practice, on the other hand, focuses on critical examination of assumptions about norms or values and includes ethics, social and political philosophy, and the philosophy of the law.

It is the Philosophy of practice, particularly moral philosophy, that provides a groundwork for discussion of many of the troubling issues facing nurses. Objectives of Philosophy * To seek the deepest explanations of existence and the nature of being. It specifically uses reasoning to show its natural scope in deriving explanations Spiritual / religious influences * Historically, many of the dominant religious institutions made judgements about the origin and essence of healing and described those who would hold positions as legitimate healers.

* Nevertheless, nursing in some form has existed in every culture, and has been influenced by spiritual beliefs, religious practices, and related cultural values. Gender influences * In every culture, women have been healers * As a result of the perception that women are more humane and more caring by nature, they have been viewed as naturally endowed with nursing talents. * «Every woman… has, at one time or another of her life, charge of the personal health of somebody, whether child or invalid- every woman is a nurse. » ~Nightingale ANCIENT / PRESOCRATIC (7th century B. C) * Greek thinkers, called themselves « wise men » but of humility.

* PYTHAGORAS- * One of the Greek thinkers, wanted to call himself a person who just love wisdom or a philosopher. * From then on, the Greek used the word philosophy for love of wisdom and philosopher as a lover of knowledge. * In the ancient times the position of healer was practiced by those thought to have special spiritual gifts. * When the reigning deity had a feminine, bisexual or androgynous nature, women were leaders in the healing arts. * As the world became a harsher place, and the Gods assumed a masculine nature, women’s role as independent, primary healer was taken away The Early Christian Era.

* Early Christian nurses were frequently women of high social status and often became independent practitioners. * When religious belief moved toward a single male God, women’s healing role changed from that of sacred healer to subservient caregiver. MIDIEVAL / MIDDLE AGES * Christian scholars and Arab philosophers were the first to create a direct link of Philosophy to Theology, one of its main inspirations in the Christian faith which became a stimulus to reason. * During this time, monastcism and other religious groups offered the only opportunities for women to pursue careers in nursing.

* Much of hospital nursing was carried out by repentant women and widows called sisters and by male nurses called brothers. * Deaconesses, matrons, and secular nursing orders were among the organized groups that had religious foundations and offered nusing services. * Much of hospital nursing was carried out by repentant women and widows called sisters and by male nurses called brothers. * Deaconesses, matrons, and secular nursing orders were among the organized groups that had religious foundations and offered nusing services.

* Women who entered nursing orders donated their property and wealth to the Church and donated thier lives to service-believing that « charity » was synonymous with « love » * The term empirical relates to knowledge gained through the process of observation and experience. * Consequently, people were more likely to seek healing through religious intervention since the position of the Church was that only God and the devil had the power to either cause illness or promote healing * The crusades, which begin in 1096 and lasted nearly 200 years, brought many changes in health and population.

* In response to the compelling need, military nursing orders were formed. These orders draw large numbers of men into the field of nursing. * During the Middle Ages, the status of women also declined. In many ways this was directly related to church doctrine. * St. Thomas Aquinas, known as the « Angelic Doctor » wrote that one should « only make use of a necessary object, woman, who is needed to persevere the species or to provide food or drink…woman was created to be man’s helper, but her unique role is in conception… since for all other purposes men would be better assisted by other men. » * St.

Jerome remarked that « women is the gate of devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in the world a perilous object» * It was a popular religious view that women were essentially evil by nature. The pain of childbirth was believed to be punishment for Eve’s transgression, and served the purpose of reminding women of their original sinful nature. * Although the medical profession was officially sanctioned by the church, and male physicians were beginning to be trained in the university setting, there was scant scientific knowledge.

They used bloodletting, astrology, alchemy, and incantations * Peasant women were often the only healers for people who had no doctors and suffered bitterly from poverty and disease * These folk healers had extensive knowledge about cures that had been handled down for generations via oral tradition.

* These women developed an extensive understanding of bones and muscles, herbs, drugs, and midwifery * This atmosphere set the stage for Church-sanctioned crimes against women in the form of the witch hunts. * Any women who treated an illness, even if she aplied a soothing salve to the diseased skin of her child, was likely to be acused of witchcraft.

* If the treatment failes, she was sough to have cursed the patient. If the treatment succeeded, she was believed to be in consort with the devil * Although women were permitted to practice midwifery, these women were in danger of being accused of witchcraft if anything went wrong with either mother or baby MODERN (16th- 18 century A. D * During this period, Rene Descartes was known as the Father of Modern Philosophy, to his philosophy of rationalism and empiricism * RATIONALISM- – is a philosophical doctrine that specifically uses resoning and proof in explaining reality EMPIRICISM:

– regards experience as the only source of knowledge,for it was during this time that the abundance of knowledge in science became a challenge for all philosophers to prove their discoveries and breakthrough to the aid of the aforementioned doctrines Renaissance and the Reformation * The sixteenth century heralded the beginning of two great movements: the renaissance and the reformation. * The renaissance produced an intellectual rebirth that began the scientific era * The reformation was a religious movement precipitated by the widespread abuses that had become a part of Church life and doctrinal disagreement among religious leaders.

* The scientific community made advanced in mathematics and the sciences. * Rene Descartes is credited with proposing a theory that quickly altered philosophic beliefs about the separation of mind and body. * He proposed that the universe is a physical thing, and that everything in the universe is like a machine, which can be analyzed and understood. * Based on Descartes’ work « cartesian philosophy » began to replace religious beliefs related to the physical and spiritual beliefs of humankind. * As a direct result, a separation was created between the acts of caring and curing in the healing arts.

* The reformation produced a split in the church. * A struggle between Catholic and Protestant groups spread across Europe, as a result, Catholicism lost its power in many countries. * Laws and cusotms in Protestant countries discouraged the humane care of the « downtrodden and the weak » CONTEMPORARY (20th century) * The existence of a great variety of doctrines of philosophy strenghtened its grasp in seeking the truth. * Among these are the doctrines of: * Karl Marx- Marxism * Immanuel Kant- Kantianism * Jean Paul Sartre- Existentialism The modern era * Florence Nightingale became a model for all nurses.

She was a nurse, statistician, sanitarian, social reformer, and scholar. * she was politically astute, intelligent, and single-minded. * Although she was opposed to using church affiliation as a criterion for admision to nursing programs, her religious beliefs were evident in her dealings with students, whom she admonished to work, work, work, because « if there is no cross, there is no crown » * Another of nursing’s great modern leaders is Lavinia Lloid Dock * She was concerned with the many problems plaguing nursing, warning that male dominance in the health field was the major problem confronting the nursing profession.


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