Introduction to Philosophy

Topics: Philosophy, Ethics, Logic Pages: 9 (1824 words) Published: April 19, 2015
Philosophical Areas of Inquiry

Philosophical Areas of Inquiry, Personal Relations and Application B. Taylor John-B.
University Of Phoenix
Abstract
“It is very tempting for people not to think, to remain submerged in reality rather than aware of it, to be carried along by the current of events rather than creating their destiny through thoughtful, independent choices” (Chaffee, 2013). In this paper, the importance of philosophy is discussed in practical terms. Why is it important? What purpose does it serve and what reasons do people have for pursuing an education in it? How can this affect my life? The major branches of philosophy, which are Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Political & Social, Aesthetics and Logic, are also discussed along with the contributing questions specific to each branch and what each branch focuses on. Philosophical Areas of Inquiry, Personal Relations and Application As stated by Cicero (n.d.), “Rightly defined, philosophy is simply the love of wisdom.” “The actual word philosophy is Greek in origin, and it is the composite of two Greek roots: philein, a Greek word for ‘love,’ and sophia, the Greek word for ‘wisdom.’ Taken together, they mean ‘the love or pursuit of wisdom’” (Chaffee, 2013). There are so many reasons one would want to study philosophy, and considering that we are all different, our reasons vary. “Philosophy means liberation from the two dimensions of routine, soaring above the well known, seeing it in new perspectives, arousing wonder and the wish to fly” (Walter Kaufmann, n.d.). Studying philosophy is a life-changing experience. It is impossible to “unlearn” something once you have discovered it, so upon your mind being awakened, it cannot go back to sleep. This grants you the gift of having a new, more complete perspective of the world around you and of life in general. People are naturally inquisitive creatures. This is one of our biggest assets, as well as our biggest downfalls. Philosophy teaches you to think critically about important issues. This is something that takes time, effort and practice. Thinking critically isn’t necessarily easy, but the benefits are plentiful. The purpose of philosophy is to ask questions that “penetrate the surface of life to confront the deeper currents lying beneath” (Chaffee, 2013, p. 4). Due to there being so many different categories of philosophical questions to be answered and studied, there are several branches of philosophy with questions specific to them and certain methodologies used in search of answers. These branches are Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Political & Social, Aesthetics and Logic. Metaphysics

Metaphysics is “the study of the ultimate characteristics of reality or existence” (Chaffee, 2013, p. 31). Bertrand Russell defines metaphysical philosophy as such, “Metaphysics, or the attempt to conceive the world as a whole by means of thought, has been developed from the first by the union and conflict of two very different impulses, the one urging men towards mysticism, the other urging them toward science.” Some of the major questions asked in this area of inquiry are, “What is the nature of reality?”, “What is the nature of self?”, “How are the mind and body related to each other?”, “Do we have personal freedom or are our choices limited?”, “What are the arguments for and against the existence of God?”, “Is there life after death?” and “Does life have meaning?” The methodology used in Metaphysics has expanded so much over the years since Aristotle. One method used for answering questions such as these “emphasizes the continuity of metaphysics with science. On this conception, metaphysics is primarily or exclusively concerned with developing generalizations from our best-confirmed scientific theories” (“Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy”, 2014). Because of the difficulty answering some of these questions, some believe Metaphysics to be “impossible.” There is no current way to label a...

Citations: Panikkar, R. (2000). Religion, Philosophy & Culture. Retrieved from http://them.polylog.org/1/fpr-en.htm
Personal Attachment to Inquiry
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that sticks out to me the most and resonates closest to my innermost self. The runner up is metaphysics, because I do find myself questioning and wondering on the meaning of life and things of that nature. However, I have decided a long time ago that the meaning of life is specific to the person. Whatever it is that drives you, motivates you and keeps you pushing forward, that is your meaning; your “why”. Epistemology fascinates me because of its questions regarding knowledge and truth. Just because we know something, does that make it truth? In the Taoist religion, the journey you embark on is to enlightenment. The purpose of Taoism is to find truth and to see the whole picture, the entire picture, for what it is. Not many make it to such a spiritual level such as that, but that is the reason for working so diligently internally. I have always admired Buddhist and Taoist for these reasons. As far as cultural influence on my decisions goes, I would have to admit that the American culture does not have as much to offer (that I am seeking, at least) as other cultures do. I am proud of my heritage, but my culture is a different story. I feel like I’m searching for something, yet cannot pinpoint what that something is. Hopefully by the end of this course I will have a better outlook and idea of what that thing is.References
Chaffee, J. (2013). The Philosopher 's Way: Thinking Critically About Profound Ideas (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2014). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaphysics/
Panikkar, R. (2000). Religion, Philosophy & Culture. Retrieved from http://them.polylog.org/1/fpr-en.htm
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