Response: “What is Philosophy”?
Upon reading the opening chapter of Cahn’s, “Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology”, I was immediately drawn in by the opening statement from Beardsley and Beardsley: “The study of philosophy is unlike the study of any other subject…The only prerequisite is an inquiring mind” (Cahn, 3). For a science major, my first reaction is excitement, for there is no need to memorize “dates, formulas, or rules” (Chan, 3). As I continued reading however, I start to think to myself what I believe it means to take a philosophy course? My definition of taking a philosophy course is I would be studying the ideas of one’s thoughts, beliefs, morals, religion, and any other “stereotypical” philosophical description. However, thanks to the definition provided, when broken down, “the word philosophy is of Greek origin and literally means, “the love of wisdom” (Cahn, 3).
What does that even mean? Throughout the opening chapter, both authors try to dissect, analyze, and examine these ideas of ‘philosophy’ and ‘philosophical questions’ for readers, like myself, to gain a better understanding for exploring such a concept. Still, how do I truly know that I have reached such an answer?
There are three chief benefits that the authors provide, “that are to be derived from the study of philosophy”. The first being, “increased clearness in your own beliefs” (Chan 10). For me, I believe this statement to be saying that I must truly be sure that what I hold to be true - is in fact true to me. The second is, “increased assurance that your beliefs are reasonable” (Cahn, 10). So to my understanding, now that I believe that such a fact is true, I must also make sure that it is reasonable. What does it mean for something to be reasonable? “’Reasonable’ has a broad, but definite, meaning here: a reasonable belief is simply a belief for which a good reason can be given. Reasonable beliefs are logically justifiable” (Cahn, 3). Okay, so if I put this in my own...
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