My First Philosophy Class : What Is Philosophy? Essay

My First Philosophy Class : What Is Philosophy? Essay

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If you ever ask a philosopher, and one of the main themes that I have learned from taking this, my first philosophy class, is that the answer is never simple or easily given. In fact, sometimes the answer doesn’t even exist at all! When you ask a question like this, expect to get something deep or nothing at all. So when asked, “What is philosophy?”, we must go back to where it all started, Greece, and learn how it came about. Then, because there are so many misconceptions that circulate the minds of the human race and give this intellectual disciple almost a negative, quizzical image, we will discuss what philosophy is not before discussing its different subdivision and categories. But there is an answer and it will be attempted to be explained here holistically. So, then we ask, what is philosophy?
Roughly around the year 440 B.C. philosophy started to take rise, and its father was deemed Socrates. During these times philosophers distinguished themselves by attempting to give “rational explanations” of phenomena that would go on in the world. This desire for rational explanations was different from the normal popular Greek culture that was completely ran by a “what the Gods say goes” mentality which was very easy going and relaxed, and philosophers, like Socrates, were set on understanding the world through a different, systematic approach that could be measured and copied aside from what the Gods said. At this same time, there was another group of people called sophists, who were closely related to philosophers in a superficial way, but differed in their fundamental aims. They were more concerned with the art of persuasion and manipulation than trying to study and understand its fundamental concepts. They were commonly mistake...


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... to answer many of the difficult question, sometimes they are unanswerable, and that’s ok. More than finally answering a challenging question, the viewpoint of Bertrand Russell is more a reason why we study philosophy. “Thus, to sum up our discussion of the value of philosophy; Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.”

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