philosophy Asking questions about things and pondering upon those questions are the things pertaining to the world of philosophy. The term of philosophy is broad which questioning the term itself can be a philosophical question. So what the fuss philosophy is all about?

The first step in understanding the philosophy

The difference between human beings and other creatures apart from physical characteristics is the ability to think critically and the ability to reason rationally. The human beings are able to think beyond what the other creatures can’t comprehend. It is understandable that our mind is always working to think of something constantly, trying to solve problems or trying to figure out what we will do next. We can’t just stop thinking. This where philosophy comes to play. Philosophy plays a major key in our lives. Our day to day activities is linked to the world of philosophy because we continuously think of something to find the answers for our problems. Thinking about something is one way of philosophy.

The meaning of the word philosophy

It is difficult to give a definite answer to question about the meaning of philosophy because the answer can be arguable. Many philosophers themselves come up with their own philosophical definition. Dr. Dave Ward from the University of Edinburgh gave his definition of philosophy that “philosophy is the activity of working out the best way to think about things”[1]. The term fits the whole purpose of thinking. Don’t we all think what the best way to think about something? It feels natural that we want to get the best out of our thoughts to think about things.

The use of philosophy in various fields of study

The knowledge of philosophy is used across many different areas of study such as religion, social and natural sciences, law, psychology, medicine, mathematics, language, humanities, and politics. To understand the use of philosophy, we need to understand it better with an example. For example, a physicist who is collecting data, taking measurements, constructing experiments, and building theories on that basis is considered doing a regular daily activity of physics [1]. When a physicist looks back and reflect on that activity and start asking questions about what data to confirm or refute in theory, the physicist is actually no longer doing a physics instead doing the philosophy of physics [1].

We somehow use philosophy in almost every activity in our lives not just limited to the fields of study. For example, we may usually use flour as the main ingredient to make a muffin cake. As we step back and evaluate our way of doing it, we start asking questions about the ways of thinking and the ways of making a muffin cake. Now we just have been philosophical.

The importance of philosophy

Philosophy is as important as other knowledge. Of course, there are certain things or times we just can’t be philosophical about. For example, a doctor who is operating on a critical patient has to apply practical knowledge, not philosophical knowledge. Also, there is no need to spend hours of our time asking philosophical questions about shoes or things like that. Dr. Ward noted that “just invert to of our questions being philosophical, that doesn’t necessarily make it an important one,” but “[…] philosophical questions and philosophical questioning often are very important.”[2] Also a lot of medical advancement and improvements came about through philosophical thinking which something that we should be thankful for.

Source:
[1] Ward, D. “Introduction to Philosophy.” [Week 1: What is philosophy]. MOOC offered by the University of Edinburgh. Retrieved on July 22, 2017 from https://www.coursera.org/learn/philosophy
[2] Ward, D. “Introduction to Philosophy.” [Week 1: Philosophy: Difficult, Important and Everywhere]. MOOC offered by the University of Edinburgh. Retrieved on July 22, 2017 from https://www.coursera.org/learn/philosophy

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