People know there is existence and reality about philosophy. Many have come across it once and again in studies and research. Talk of Socrates and the likes, and you are talking of the source and heart of philosophy. But many do not actually understand what philosophy actually is.
Philosophy is not a picking and choosing what body of thought one would like to call one’s own or would like to believe in; a choice based upon personal preferences or feelings. Philosophy is a pursuit. One can choose to be philosophical. One can choose to be a philosopher. One can NOT choose a Philosophy. Philosophy, insofar as it may be correlated at all to a “way of Life”, is a form of thinking meant to guide action or to prescribe a way of life.
The philosophic way of life , if there is one, is displayed in a life in which action is held to be best directed when philosophical reflection has provided that direction; e.g., SOCRATES the paradigm of a philosopher. Philosophy is an activity of thought, a type of thinking. Philosophy is critical and comprehensive thought, the most critical and comprehensive manner of thinking which the human species has yet devised.
This intellectual process includes both an analytic and synthetic mode of operation. Philosophy as a critical and comprehensive process of thought involves resolving confusion, unmasking assumptions, revealing presuppositions, distinguishing importance, testing positions, correcting distortions, looking for reasons, examining world-views and questioning conceptual frameworks.
Philosophy and science, both sound more like the same thing, or related in a way. However, many scholars have different perceptions on whether these two are common in any way, or they do have any connection at all. Despite the arguments, these two seem to be interdepended in one way or the other.
The touchstone of the value of philosophy as a world-view and methodology is the degree to which it is interconnected with life. This interconnection may be both direct and indirect, through the whole system of culture, through science, art, morality, religion, law, and politics. As a special form of social consciousness, constantly interacting with all its other forms, philosophy is their general theoretical substantiation and interpretation.
Can philosophy develop by itself, without the support of science? Can science “work” without philosophy? Some people think that the sciences can stand apart from philosophy, that the scientist should actually avoid philosophizing, the latter often being understood as groundless and generally vague theorizing.
If the term philosophy is given such a poor interpretation, then of course anyone would agree with the warning “Physics, beware of metaphysics!” But no such warning applies to philosophy in the higher sense of the term. The specific sciences cannot and should not break their connections with true philosophy.
Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalizations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological impulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought.
Call it conservative and ancient, philosophy has been around for well a long time. It may be overlooked due to the changes in world systems, science, technology, name them. But philosophy still remains a relevant aspect in learning through promoting critical thinking skills and general knowledge as a whole.
Philosophy can help improve critical thinking skills.
Most fields of study, such as physics, history, and economics, are mainly about providing us with knowledge of some sort. However, some fields of study are more practical, such as computer engineering, and they are mainly about providing us with skills. Practical fields are supposed to help improve our abilities, so that we can do something using them. Philosophy is not necessarily a primarily skill-oriented field of study, but it is the specialized field of study for critical thinking, and it can help us improve our critical thinking skills.
Philosophy is a good way to know certain things.
Philosophers have a type of expertise—they know a lot about various philosophical issues, the history of various philosophical debates, and quite a bit about what it means to reason properly. They tend know more about these things than those who aren’t philosophers (and getting a degree is a step in the right direction to becoming a philosopher).
For this reason we can learn a lot from philosophers concerning their various specializations, and we can sometimes learn a lot by doing philosophy on our own as well. We can all learn a little about what philosophy has to offer by actually doing some philosophy on our own. After all, philosophers didn’t attain their expertise just by twiddling their thumbs. It took a lot of hard work, and we can attain greater philosophical expertise for ourselves.