DEFINITION OF PHILOSOPHY AND NATURE OF PHILOSOPHICAL ENQUIRY. The term philosophy is Greek word from two words. These are: philos which means love or desire and Sophia which means wisdom (Pojman and Vaughn). So a philosopher is the one who searches for knowledge by asking questions . This paper aims at the definition of philosophy and nature of philosophical enquiry. Any given field of inquiry has philosophical roots and extensions.
In general, philosophy is both an activity involving thinking about these kinds of ultimate questions and an activity involving the construction of sound reasons or insights into our most basic assumptions about the universe and our lives.
Quite often, simply asking a series of ‘Why’ and ‘How’ questions can reveal these basic presuppositions. Children often ask such questions, sometimes to the annoyance of their parents, in order to get a feel for the way the world works. For example a child asking his father as to why he is reading this philosophy book: Child: Why are you reading ‘Reading for philosophical Inquiry? ’ Father: ‘It’s an assigned book in philosophy, one of my college courses.
’ Child: ‘Why do you take philosophy? ’ At this point in the dialogue, the child is curious to know everything and this conversation will likely take long until the father gets annoyed. However, philosophy is not just asking any questions but questions about the analysis of concepts, defining concepts or terms carefully, and about the grounds of knowledge, beliefs actions and activities. Rogers Straughan and John Wilson (1983) use the verb philosophizing instead of the noun philosophy.
According to them philosophy is an activity. It is something one does and usually gets better at with practice. It is a form of thought one uses; it is a method of argument one adopts. Philosophizing involves getting clear about the meanings and uses of words and about the concepts that lie behind the words and about relevant types of reasons and argument, so that serious issues may be discussed sensibly. For example, people use the word ‘know’ wrongly while they mean ‘they feel’ or something different .
Because if one A it means that A must be true. One must have evidence that A is true. Therefore philosophy is not a body of knowledge but rather an activity of criticism or clarification. So it can be exercised on any subject matter. It’s like a mother of all studies . Philosophy is also a branch of our minds that deals with justification of our decisions . This so because in each and every subject, there is need to ask questions and find solutions for justifying our assumptions.
Teachers are particularly prone to ask loaded questions when tackling philosophical problems because in their daily routine they frequently use loaded questions to make pupils give them correct answers as an alternative to providing pupils with information. There are two kinds of philosophical questions namely Speculative and Empirical questions . speculative questions require one to sit down and think in order to obtain an answer. These are not scientific since they cannot produce the laboratory answer on which certain knowledge is based.
According to Kneller (1971), speculative philosophy is a way of thinking systematically about everything that exists. Empirical questions can be answered by one’s own experience . The rightness and wrongness of the answer can be tested by getting up and doing it . For example; If one sits on the beach and wants to know if the sea is warm, he or she needs firsthand experience by getting up and put his or her hand in the water . One might as well ask himself or herself ‘where did the sea come from originary? ’ And a certain theoretical reasoning may lead one to ask further questions: ‘is there God? Did God create the sea? ’ With these questions one can only sit and think, speculate, evaluate, and theorize. According to Schofield (1972), this process of asking questions for ourselves in an effort to produce solutions to philosophical problems is called analytical approach. In brief, it has been noted that philosophy inquiries involve evaluation and an attempt to understand both philosophical questions and possible answers. It also involves new assumptions or presuppositions as reasons for the explanation of natural phenomena and theorizing, which is an act of developing new ways to look at.