What is philosophy?

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nandu
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What is philosophy?

Post by nandu » Mon May 24, 2010 3:06 pm

Hello everybody!

We have been shuttling the term philosophy back and forth for the past few days, so I decided to do what I love most to do... start a thread with a question.

What is philosophy?

I did a quick search on the web and came up with a lot of definitions, but they all seemed to concur on one thing: that philosophy was a "search for truth through rational speculation".

I am a newbie on the subject; I have very little knowledge of philosophy other than what has been picked up through haphazard reading. So I hope other more enlightened associates will jump into the fray with their opinions.

Let's have an open discussion.

Nandu.
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Post by jonsjourney » Mon May 24, 2010 7:52 pm

I did a quick search on the web and came up with a lot of definitions, but they all seemed to concur on one thing: that philosophy was a "search for truth through rational speculation". -nandu
That seems to work in my view. All other qualifiers (for example, what the debate entailed in the Atheism thread) are made to reduce the number of people we call a philosopher, and are therefore debatable...either via logic, or otherwise. But I, personally, think this is a good working definition.
"He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot." -Douglas Adams
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Post by Neoplato » Mon May 24, 2010 10:15 pm

philo-

Gk. philo-, comb. form of philos "dear" (adj.), "friend" (n.), from philein "to love," of unknown origin. Productive of a great many compounds in ancient Gk.

sophy

suffix meaning "knowledge," from O.Fr. -sophie, from L. -sophia, from Gk. -sophia, from sophia "skill, wisdom, knowledge," of unknown origin.
"Lover of Wisdom"? Then we have to define wisdom.
wis·dom 
–noun
1.the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
Still subjective at best. :(

I can quote sources, but that all would be subjective. At this rate, a philosopher could be anyone who thinks. :shock:
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Post by romansh » Mon May 24, 2010 10:38 pm

"What is philosophy?"

After reading Robert Kane's collection of essays on free will - my answer would be:
not very helpful.
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Post by Clemsy » Mon May 24, 2010 11:03 pm

a philosopher could be anyone who thinks.
Good enough for me. Everyone has a philosophy.

... although the 'rational' part can get a bit tricky.
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Post by jonsjourney » Tue May 25, 2010 12:23 am

Neo...did you spot Bigfoot somewhere on the East Coast? :lol:

Clemsy...I had the same thought about the rational part, but let it rest. I thought it may get tricky enough without my usual muddying of the waters! :twisted:
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Post by romansh » Tue May 25, 2010 12:32 am

Clemsy wrote:
a philosopher could be anyone who thinks.
... although the 'rational' part can get a bit tricky.
JJ wrote:Clemsy...I had the same thought about the rational part, but let it rest. I thought it may get tricky enough without my usual muddying of the waters!
A strong determinist ends up with a concept that there is no difference between rational thought and other kinds of thought.

All thought is one with the second law of thermodynamics describing the natural flow of things.
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Post by Neoplato » Tue May 25, 2010 1:06 am

Neo...did you spot Bigfoot somewhere on the East Coast?
No...it's the closest thing to a self-portrait. Only a 5'7" version. :lol:
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Post by Neoplato » Tue May 25, 2010 1:09 am

All thought is one with the second law of thermodynamics describing the natural flow of things.
Haven't read much Eckhart Tolle I see. :D
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Post by romansh » Tue May 25, 2010 1:40 am

Neoplato wrote:
All thought is one with the second law of thermodynamics describing the natural flow of things.
Haven't read much Eckhart Tolle I see. :D
Would it help if I had ...

The last third of A New Earth was positively wierd and the Power of Now was OK.

Is there much that I have missed?
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Post by Clemsy » Tue May 25, 2010 1:44 am

A strong determinist ends up with a concept that there is no difference between rational thought and other kinds of thought.
I can understand that. All thought is one in the mind of the Great Oz. However, I would think that rational thinkers tend to pass on their genes more often than non-rational thinkers. :lol:
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Post by nandu » Tue May 25, 2010 2:00 am

I think the rational part is required, at least within the philosopher's mind. He needs to connect up his thoughts. I can philosophise that the whole universe has been created by the God Giligilibumba, but I need something more than strong faith to present it before the world. I need arguments. "I believe" is not enough.

One more thing: a philosopher needs to put in some effort to ponder the deep questions: reality, existence, the human condition, etc. What Clemsy says is correct: everybody has a philosophy of life. But only those who take the effort to analyse it become philosophers.

Does philosophy require formal training?

Nandu.
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Post by romansh » Tue May 25, 2010 2:01 am

Clemsy wrote:
A strong determinist ends up with a concept that there is no difference between rational thought and other kinds of thought.
I can understand that. All thought is one in the mind of the Great Oz. However, I would think that rational thinkers tend to pass on their genes more often than non-rational thinkers. :lol:
Only if we are good looking and rich.
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Post by romansh » Tue May 25, 2010 2:17 am

nandu wrote: One more thing: a philosopher needs to put in some effort to ponder the deep questions: reality, existence, the human condition, etc. What Clemsy says is correct: everybody has a philosophy of life. But only those who take the effort to analyse it become philosophers.
Nandu.
I have a problem with philosophy, well philosophers actually, they seem to try to work out what reality is just using their brains. Only as a last recourse do they defer to the physical world. (OK I'm exagerating a bit here).

For example some philosophers will use Frankfurt counter examples to determine whether we have free will or not. Seems like the answer is not in our minds as it is our minds what we are trying to examine.
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Post by Evinnra » Tue May 25, 2010 4:21 am

nandu wrote:

Does philosophy require formal training?

Nandu.
Would you prefere the short answer or the long one? :lol:

Acting (thinking or doing something) unreasonably can not be considered as an act that a philosopher would do. But even philosophers slam the door occasionally .... so, would you prefer the short answer or the long one? :roll:
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