Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is Philosophy

What is Philosophy?
A philosophy is a comprehensive system of ideas about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in. It is a guide for living, because the issues it addresses are basic and pervasive, determining the course we take in life and how we treat other people.
The topics that philosophy addresses fall into several distinct fields. Among those of fundamental concern are:
Metaphysics (the theory of reality).
Epistemology (the theory of knowledge)
Ethics (the theory of moral values)
Politics (the theory of legal rights and government)
Aesthetics (the theory of the nature of art)
The most widespread systems of ideas that offer philosophical guidance are religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Religions differ from philosophies not in the subjects they address, but in the method they use to address them. Religions have their basis in mythic stories that pre-date the discovery of explicitly rational methods of inquiry. Many religions nowadays appeal to mystical faith and revelation modes of belief that claim validity independent of logic and the scientific method, at least for the biggest questions. But most religions are in their origins pre-rational rather than anti-rational, a story-teller's account of philosophic issues rather than a scientist's.
In Greek, "philosophy" means "love of wisdom." Philosophy is based on rational argument and appeal to facts. The history of the modern sciences begins with philosophical inquiries, and the scientific method of experimentation and proof remains an instance of the general approach that a philosopher tries to bring to a question: one that is logical and rigorous. However, while today the sciences focus on specialized inquiries in restricted domains, the questions addressed by philosophy remain the most general and most basic, the issues that underlie the sciences and stand at the base of a world-view.
Philosophy raises some of the deepest and widest questions there are. Addressing the issues in each branch of philosophy requires integrating everything one knows about reality (metaphysics) or humanity (epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics). Proposing reasonable positions in philosophy. (Thomas, W.n.d).

Philosophy wants to understand the relationship of man, with nature God and all universes.Philsophy, therefore, may understood as a search for a comprehensive view of nature.

The aim of Philosophy is to understand the problem of human being. Philosophy seeks to whether man is free from the bondage of the society or he can change the history of life.
Philosophy of life
“Philosophy of life” constitutes one of the most important pillars of life studies. The task of Philosophy of life is to think deeply about the question, “What is life, death, and nature?”
The practice of philosophy is a way of life that results from falling in love with questions the mythic questions that can never be given definite answers.
*How can I find a meaning, purpose, vocation for my life?
*What can I know?
*What I ought to do?
*Is there life beyond death?
*What hinders to my freedom?
*How can I escape from the constricting social, political and economic myths that were imposed on me by my family and culture?
*How can we create a more just and peaceful world?
Human life is a journey which never ends. Searching, longing, and questing is in us from our birth. Who are we? And what will we become?
Cohen is a researcher and author, he says: “
True Science is observing the evidence, creating theory and testing that theory through various means”.
According to John Dewey the function of Philosophy is not only to know the world but to find out the solution of social problems of man.

Theory of Human nature
Then John Dewey presents his theory regarding nature of human nature:
What is a human being? How does it differ from other species? What are the limits of human potential?
Human nature being what it is, however, it tends to seek its motivation in agreeable rather than in the disagreeable, indirect pleasure rather than alternative pain. The interaction of human being, namely association. , is not different in origin from other modes of interaction. Even dogs and horses have their actions modified by association with human beings; they form differ habits because human beings are concerned with what they do? (Emand& Fraser. n.d.)
According to John Dewey philosophy should be Scientific and that it must follow the methods of Science. Dewey takes science as the knowledge and the methods of modern Science as the standard of the method of knowing. Dewey says that all knowledge should have passed through experimental test, means it should be experienced and than it should be used in the life.
Experimentalism is one of the two basic terms which John Dewey used to explain his philosophy. The other is instrumentalism. The basic thing which he mentioned is to evaluation of experimental his whole theory is based on experience of man. Dewey sees knowledge and experience together. He says that the knowledge is the result of our various types of experience. John Dewy shows that life consists in striving to continue existing, and this requires self- renewal. Physiological life is renewed by nutrition and reproduction, but social life is renewed by Education. Hence Education is not optional but necessary.
The concept of Philosophy in today’s life:
Philosophy of life was a major branch of Philosophy in ancient times in Europe and Asia. However, especially in the context of cotemporary Philosophy, it disappeared from the scene. Today people’s interest in bioethics, terminal care and environmental issues is rapidly growing. It is time to reconstruct “Philosophy of life” as a major branch of contemporary Philosophy. Some questions are given below which are asked more commonly in our daily life.

1) Philosophical inquiry into some basic concepts concerning life, death, and nature.
The ultimate aim of life is to help us live our limited lives without regret, hence, first, we have to make clear what the exact meaning of “limited life” is. We are all going to die sooner or later, but what does this mean to us exactly? Surprisingly, this is an extremely hard question to answer. This question is closely connected with another one, “what happens when I die?”
But we cannot know anything certain about this question. Hence, the question of life studies would be like this, what is the meaning of limited life?” when we do know nothing about life after death? A life study does not deny religion. Life studies follows a different path from religion, we have to make clear other important questions, such as “what is life without regret.

2) Social Philosophy based on life studies:
The ultimate aim of life studies is to live our limited lives without regret, means with out feeling of sorrow and guilty. We have to make clear what kind of social principles and social systems are needed in order to attain this goal, and make clear how they are difficult from other social theories.

3) Life and owner ship
What is the conceptual relationship between “I and “life”? People who justify suicide may insist that “one’s life” belongs to him/ herself, but is this the same saying that the person owns his/ her “life”? The problem of “life and ownership” would probably one of the most important issue is of today’s life.

4) The problem of killing and or eating other creatures:
We eat meat, fish, and vegetables. We kill animals and plants for food. Most modern philosophies insist that all life forms on the earth are equally valuable, but if this is true, then what are we doing to creatures should be severely criticized. Some philosophers distinguish sentient animals and nonsentient creatures, but isn’t this is a suitable excuse for humans? With the help of biology, ecology and anthropology, we have to tackle this difficult problem.

Philosophy deals with all the matters of life, which happens in every day of life of a person or other creatures. Where there is human being, there is philosophy because every body thinks about the life and its different aspects, so to answer of the questions of human being regarding the life is called Philosophy.

Reference List

Bharti. (2005). Educational Philosophy of John Dewey. New Delhi:
Discovery Publishing House.

Emand, N. & Fraser, S. The Educational Theory of John Dewey. (n.d)
Retrieved on 1st January, 2008, from
http /www. new foundations. com.

Thomas, W. What is philosophy (n.d.)
Retrieved on 18th April, 2008, from

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