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Why should anyone study philosophy - Essay Example

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, philosophy is the study of fundamental nature of knowledge, existence and reality, especially in academic discipline. …
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Why should anyone study philosophy
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Why should anyone study philosophy

The meaning of this is that as long as an individual has his ideological persuasions guiding his life’s decisions and principles, that person may be said to be having his own philosophy. This means that philosophy can be defined broadly or even narrowly, depending on a person’s preference (Proffitt & Webster). The broad aspect of philosophy and its definition are underscored by the fact that during the classical era, even linguistics was considered part of philosophy. In itself, the phrase philosophy is a Greek compound philo and Sophia, meaning loving and knowledge, respectively. Although one may compound philo and Sophia and conclude that philosophy is the love or quest for knowledge, yet this definition barely suffices. Philosophy is indeed a love and a quest for knowledge but not all love and quest for knowledge are philosophical or philosophy. One can agree with Wallenmaier’s attempt at a more tenable definition of philosophy as the attempt to acquire knowledge by rational means, concerning topics which are not amenable to empirical investigation (Wallenmaier, 340). The foregoing does not only reveal the difficulty which man has encountered in his attempt to define philosophy, but the simple-yet-so-complex nature which graces and characterizes philosophy. For instance, although Wallenmaier’s attempt seems the most plausible so far, yet it has its deficiencies. The plausibility of Wallenmaier’s definition is seen in the facts that: seeing philosophy as an attempt to acquire knowledge separates philosophy from creative disciplines such as music and literature; the rational aspect of philosophy which Wallenmaier mentions disassociates philosophy from religion and mysticism; and topics that are not amenable to empirical investigation as the focus of philosophy distinguish philosophy from empirical sciences such as biology and physics. Nonetheless, the difficulty in defining philosophy is underpinned by the broad nature of philosophy which suffuses even into all other disciplines such as law, medicine, mathematics, art, linguistics and anthropology. In a separate wavelength, the reasons for studying philosophy may not be as difficult as the definition of the same may be. This is because taking an interest and having a passion in philosophy is inherent to philosophers or those who aspire to become philosophers. One may see the importance of studying in light of its three branches- epistemology, metaphysics and ethics, though these are not the only sub-disciplines of philosophy. Metaphysics examines or studies the nature of reality, especially in light of the relationship between the mind and substance, matter and attribute and fact and value. Conversely, metaphysics may be defined as the study of the essence of things and of the fundamental principles which pattern or organize the universe. In a conventional systems philosophy, the organization of the universe is construed as the fundamental principle of existence (rather than the laws of nature, matter or God). Because of this nature of metaphysics for instance, philosophy may help one investigate where the organization and complex patterning of the universe comes from. Herein, it is fit to posit that studying metaphysics will help the student have a more comprehensive understanding of ontology. This is because, in the study of metaphysics, the learner will also encounter evolutionary-systematic philosophy where essence is qualified as a process by which organization is created. In this light, ontology proceeds from elementary actions, in lieu of static objects, ... Read More
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