What is philosophy? Essay
What is philosophy?
As complex as the modern world has become, it seems unlikely that most of what surrounds us is actually the result of the ancient practice of philosophy. Everything from the structure of democratic governments to due process of law, from a physician’s Hippocratic Oath to computer software, has its roots in philosophy.
Philosophy is an academic discipline that exercises reason and logic in an attempt to understand reality and answer fundamental questions about knowledge, life, morality and human nature. The ancient Greeks, who were among the first to practice philosophy, coined the term, which means “love of wisdom. ”
Those who study philosophy are called philosophers. Through the ages, philosophers have sought to answer such questions as, what is the meaning and purpose of life? How do we know what we know? Does God exist? What does it mean to possess consciousness? And, what is the value of morals? Nowadays usually such questions posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask. This is all that we ask for in order to make an opinion for ourselves, like a sort of “umbrella,” which protects us from chaos.
Before answering a question, the person thoroughly analyzes it to ensure it is clearly and properly defined. This helps narrow the path to the most precise answer. philosophy is the art of forming, inventing, and fabricating concepts. But the answer not only had to take note of the question, it had to determine its moment, its occasion and circumstances, its landscapes and personae, its conditions and unknowns. Simply, the time has come for us to ask what philosophy is. The object of philosophy is to create concepts that are always new.
The philosopher is expert in concepts and in the lack of them. He knows which of them are not viable, which are arbitrary or inconsistent, which ones do not hold up for an instant. On the other hand, he also knows which are well formed and attest to a creation, however disturbing or dangerous it may be. The philosopher is the concept’s friend; he is potentiality of the concept.
That is, philosophy is not a simple art of forming, inventing, or fabricating concepts, because concepts are not necessarily forms, discoveries, or products. ” Plato said that Ideas must be contemplated, but first of all he had to create the concept of Idea. To determine the value of philosophy, we must first free our minds from the prejudices of what are wrongly called ‘practical’ men.
The goods of the mind are at least as important as the goods of the body. The mind which has become accustomed to the freedom and impartiality of philosophic contemplation will preserve something of the same freedom and impartiality in the world of action and emotion.
It will view its purposes and desires as parts of the whole, with the absence of insistence that results from seeing them as infinitesimal fragments in a world of which all the rest is unaffected by any one man’s deeds. For example comparing the philosopher, the scientist, and the artist we can tell that they seem to return from the land of the dead. What the philosopher brings back from the chaos are variations that are still infinite but that have become inseparable on the absolute surfaces or in the absolute volumes that lay out o distinct ideas.
Creation and self-positing mutually imply each other because what is truly created, from the living being to the work of art, thereby enjoys a self-positing of itself, or an autopoetic characteristic by which it is recognized. Whether philosophy is anything better than innocent but useless trifling, hair-splitting distinctions, and controversies on matters concerning which knowledge is impossible. We can at least see what philosophy is not: it is not contemplation, reflection, or communication. It is not contemplation, for contemplations are things themselves as seen in the creation of their specific concepts.
It is not reflection, because no one needs philosophy to reflect on anything. It is thought that philosophy is being given a great deal by being turned into the art of reflection, but actually it loses everything. The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find, as we saw in our opening chapters, that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given.
Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answersto its q uestions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is 2 rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 October 2016
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