Term Paper: What is Philosophy?
For me, philosophy is not only a science but also the opportunity to find the answers to some fundamental questions of life. I think that it can give solutions for those who seek for them. At the same time, it can mix up thoughts for those who don’t have an opinion of their own and count only on other views.
People wanted to get the answer to eternal questions since the humankind appeared. People need explanations for the reason of their living, understand the sense of their existence and the higher forces, which influence their lives. People turned to myth in the beginning. Religion derives from legend, and it is a more complicated form of methodology. Religion is based on faith but human mind developed and needed more and more rational explanations, and thus philosophy appeared. Its main aim was to give reasonable answers to the central questions of existence.
Philosophy is translated from Latin as “love of wisdom, ” and it truly reflects the main aim of this science – to find the truth and to understand the world. Philosophy aims to answer the fundamental questions and depending on the question posted we can define different branches of this science.
Ethics or moral philosophy is preoccupied with the question about the way a human should behave. Moral question and definition of moral behavior, the questions of good and evil are studied within this aspect of philosophical research. Philosophers also try to give answers to the nature of our Universe, its origin and reasons for existence. This part of knowledge is called metaphysics, and it aims to provide us with the knowledge about reality. Metaphysics it is the subject of a philosophical search.
The study of religion, its credibility, origins and the way it influences our life is another subject matter of philosophy. Religion and thus philosophy aim to answer the most fundamental human inquiries about such problems as our origin and nature, God’s nature and the way for humans to achieve it and the predestination of our life. Both philosophy and religion aim is answering same questions and try to solve some problems, but they approach them differently. Religion is based on the empirical way of treating the world where all the problems are solved through the faith and following religious dogmas. Truth in religion can be rather felt or experienced than proved or expressed. Philosophy treats same problems of our existence differently. It takes nothing for granted and approaches things from the rational perspective. It means that reflections, direct evidence, and rational understanding are the main ways to perceive reality. All this taken together describes the main method of western philosophy, which can be described as rational-critical methods. Once Descartes, famous for his skepticism said the phrase “de omnibus dibutandum,” which is translated: “everything is to be doubted.” I think that this phrase expresses the essence of philosophy in the best way. All evidence presented in philosophy needs to be proved. Philosophers believe knowledge to be before any belief. During centuries of its existence philosophy had one and ultimate aim – to find out the truth about the world. Such sciences as logic, physics, biology, mathematics, rhetoric, astronomy, chemistry, sociology, geography, history, law, psychology, and many other disciplines originate from philosophy and exist in close interconnection with it. All of them are based on the same critical, rational methods. We must be thankful for philosophy for the development of modern sciences and great progress made in the field of rational cognition of the world. Analyses and logical argumentation, observation and experiment are the main methods used in all the sciences mentioned above, and all these submethods derive from the rational critical method used in philosophy. All these methods extended our knowledge about the physical world, and these phenomena have created the sciences and technology as we see it now.
The study of philosophy can help to understand the phenomenon of acculturation; it’s origins and perspective of further development. Philosophy reminds us that all the knowledge and theories should be perceived in a cultural context and its influence can’t be neglected.
In philosophy, any knowledge is impossible without sufficient evidence while in religion evidence is not necessary at all. Its method is completely different from those used in religion, where any knowledge is impossible without prior belief. Philosophy and religion create the main paradigm of our life. It’s a paradigm between belief and reason. Critical, rational method of theory rejects blind faith, which makes the basement of any religion while religion doesn’t accept the necessity of logical evidence, proclaimed by philosophy.
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