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Henri Ward

Philisophical Thought

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I have been pondering the nature of philosophy, and philosophers. Should the definition of philosophy be the development of applying a meaning to life, truth, knowledge and wisdom? In this case, would any conclusion made be classified as a philosophical thought process?

In the study of Philosophy we tend to hear names such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, etc... But are these the only philosophers? In the academic study of the subject, students would seem to use an combination of different philisophical theories to come up with a conclusion of their own, but I'm puzzled as to whether this can be qualified as philosophic itself, or whether it must be something which is original and previously unstated.

Are there any viewpoints or solid definitions on this particular topic? I would be interested to hear them.

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I have been pondering the nature of philosophy, and philosophers. Should the definition of philosophy be the development of applying a meaning to life, truth, knowledge and wisdom? In this case, would any conclusion made be classified as a philosophical thought process?

In the study of Philosophy we tend to hear names such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, etc... But are these the only philosophers? In the academic study of the subject, students would seem to use an combination of different philisophical theories to come up with a conclusion of their own, but I'm puzzled as to whether this can be qualified as philosophic itself, or whether it must be something which is original and previously unstated.

Are there any viewpoints or solid definitions on this particular topic? I would be interested to hear them.

This is the definition of philosophy from the Farlex Free Online dictionary, and I think it's rather good.

1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.

2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.

3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.

4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.

5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.

6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.

7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.

8. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.

We can discuss each one or several, if you like. We can separate them into some sort of grouping.

Or we can begin by what philosophy is not (the philosophy of not being a philosophy LOL).

I am not a philosopher in the academic sense no (B.A. or B.S. in Ph) but I absolutely love discussing it, and it would require me to have to look up definitions and ideas that I have long forgotten. Perhaps we could answer your questions by taking each of the above definitions, one at a time, and write a small paper on each--even a well thought out paragraph. Say we get a week per statement. Sound like fun???/ Or we can discuss our research as we receive it ourselves. We may even throw some out.

Say yes, please!!!

BTW, I think we are all philosophers, i.e., there exists, within each rational person, reasoning, and the reasons for the reasoning I would call subjective philosophy. I think the great philosophers were able to articulate the thoughts of many, so the philosophy that each one taught became associated with his name.

Edited by Kathy Beckett

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I am not a philosopher in the academic sense no (B.A. or B.S. in Ph) but I absolutely love discussing it, and it would require me to have to look up definitions and ideas that I have long forgotten. Perhaps we could answer your questions by taking each of the above definitions, one at a time, and write a small paper on each--even a well thought out paragraph. Say we get a week per statement. Sound like fun???/ Or we can discuss our research as we receive it ourselves. We may even throw some out.

This sounds like a good idea. I studied a philosphy unit in the early 1970s that was terrible. However, I did attend an evening class about 25 years ago that was excellent. The tutor was Tony Grayling who related the course to everyday life. He was only a PhD student at the time but he went onto great things.

http://www.acgrayling.com/

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I am not a philosopher in the academic sense no (B.A. or B.S. in Ph) but I absolutely love discussing it, and it would require me to have to look up definitions and ideas that I have long forgotten. Perhaps we could answer your questions by taking each of the above definitions, one at a time, and write a small paper on each--even a well thought out paragraph. Say we get a week per statement. Sound like fun???/ Or we can discuss our research as we receive it ourselves. We may even throw some out.

This sounds like a good idea. I studied a philosphy unit in the early 1970s that was terrible. However, I did attend an evening class about 25 years ago that was excellent. The tutor was Tony Grayling who related the course to everyday life. He was only a PhD student at the time but he went onto great things.

http://www.acgrayling.com/

That is really neat. He is very impressive!!!

I was taught by Jesuits, several which wrote their own books for class.

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2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.

I'm particularly interested in this definition. The branch of Philosophy I study at school is Theory of Knowledge (ToK), or epistomology, the nature of knowledge and belief, and can be seen to tie in with the definition given.

Is the definition implying that empirical knowledge has no place in the realm of philosophy? It would seem that Plato would agree with this, through his work on metaphysics, the allegory of the cave, and his Theory of Forms.

My question is: Do you believe one can study philosophy without ever touching upon empirical methods?

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2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.

I'm particularly interested in this definition. The branch of Philosophy I study at school is Theory of Knowledge (ToK), or epistomology, the nature of knowledge and belief, and can be seen to tie in with the definition given.

Is the definition implying that empirical knowledge has no place in the realm of philosophy? It would seem that Plato would agree with this, through his work on metaphysics, the allegory of the cave, and his Theory of Forms.

My question is: Do you believe one can study philosophy without ever touching upon empirical methods?

I need to think about this. However, I must also relate a story.

I was in class, in, I believe, Philosophy of the Human Person. My professor asked us how we could "know" if something were true. I answered him that we could use empirical data to prove something. (If an experiment repeatedly resulted in the same outcome, we could say that outcome was true, and draw an empirical equation from the results.)

He then told me this.... "If that is true, then every day I get up is more proof to me that I can live forever". He had no data to prove otherwise......

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Interesting. What is 'the world'? Where are YOU? Where is the boundary between self and other?

The mind body phenomena has assorted sense doors giving input through physical structures. The mind percieves this input and can contemplate it.

The mind can also contemplate this self. IOW the mind is also a sense organ that is percieved. Further the self that percieves self can be contemplated. Is the self that contemplates self self itself ad infinitum.

The 'proof' that other exists is an interface between self and other. IOW it can only be surmised to exist. If I stood in the middle of a forest where no woman could hear me and I spoke, would I still be wrong? :)

Naturally we assume that that which exists beyond the shell of the mind body phenomena exists. But what proof do we have?

Really, the only proof we have is that we have sense organs and the sensed is percieved by what? Me, the me that percieves me et.c.? Do "I" indeed exist at all? If so where? Am "I" less if my arm is chopped off?

To percieve the perciever numerous ideas are formed. Are the ideas me?

In the final analysis, the illusion is taken as 'reality'. Or is it? Is it possible to 'step back' from all preconceptions and see a universal truth?

Philosophy attempts this but in the act of attempting it creates the reality.

Doing nothing is probably the hardest thing in the world to do. How do you do nothing without DOING 'nothing'.

Yet it is in truly doing nothing that that which is reveals itself. To see things as they truly are then is not a result of philosophical thought or ideas but rather at some point dropping the notion that it can be.

If ones response to this is that one has lost ones mind then one is on the right track.

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