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What Is Philosophy - Essay Example

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The word 'philosophy' is one often heard in everyday life, at times misused or attributed to something else entirely. For instance, there are those who take it to refer to a way of life, while others understand it as a way to their own set of beliefs…
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What Is Philosophy
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What Is Philosophy

The actual meaning of the word 'philosophy', however, is such that neither interpretation can truly be said to be wrong. On the other hand, neither interpretation is truly correct on its own, either. This being the case, the question of what philosophy is should first be answered. The word 'philosophy' actually derives its origins from the Greek words 'philo' and 'sophos', which respectively mean 'love' and 'wisdom' - thus, the word can be translated as 'love of wisdom' (Online Etymology Dictionary, 2012). Philosophers tend to concern themselves with problems, especially those with concepts such as existence, knowledge and values (Teichmann and Evans, 1999). They then proceed to try and answer these questions as logically, rationally and systematically as possible. One of the more notable things said of the field of philosophy is that it revolves around the creation of concepts. This is actually a rather accurate description; for instance, the subcategory of metaphysics concerns itself with explaining the nature not only of the world, but of the human existence (Geisler, 1999). Those who specialize in this branch of philosophy search for knowledge with the aim of helping others attain greater understanding of the world, as defined by its fundamental notions such as existence, causality, ontology and possibility. ...
This is not necessarily a bad thing, though - as the legendary Bruce Lee once put it, all knowledge ultimately leads to self-knowledge (Little, 1996). Interpreting any given subject will inevitably require the use of one's logic - of one's rational capabilities to try and make sense of the subject at hand. And as Popkin and Stroll (1993) explain, this in turn requires that one is capable of reasoning things out in a valid manner, based on the body of knowledge involved. For instance, one need not be a lawyer or a law student to know the law. However, the only way to truly understand the intricacies of the law is to unlearn everything one has been taught to think of it, and to try and understand the law as lawyers do. Joe Hyams (1982) quotes no less than Bruce Lee himself when he emphasizes the need to let go of one's preconceived expectations and notions. For one to properly study a subject requires that he be willing to let go of everything he has been taught to think about that subject, and to approach it with a clean slate, as if for the first time. In connection with this, it has often been said that lawyers are not truly after the truth, but what can be proven. As most lawyers and law students know, this can and often is a problem. For one thing, evidence can, in fact, be fabricated, and besides that, even the evidence at hand can be misinterpreted such that it heavily favors a particular interpretation of events. This can be very frustrating, especially to those who took to heart the lawyer's oath to uphold justice and truth seriously Furthermore, evidence can be admitted or dismissed depending on the methods used to obtain it, ... Read More
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