मंगलवार, 1 जुलाई 2008

What is the Use of Philosophy?

To ask what the use of philosophy is is like asking what the use of understanding i One answer is that understanding is something that we very often seek for its own sake. As Aristotle said long ago: “All human beings by nature desire to understand.” We are curious if nothing else, and it is one of the more admirable traits of human beings. We like to know what is going on and why. After we have fed ourselves and put a roof over our heads, and attended to other basic needs, the question arises what we are to do with our time. One suggestion is that we should raise our heads a bit and look around us and try to understand ourselves and things around us. This turns out to be interesting. It is the genesis of both science and philosophy, with science taking the more empirical road to understanding and philosophy the more conceptual. These are complementary enterprises and there have always been important connections between them which continue despite the growth of institutional science and its increasing splintering into more and more highly specialized sub-disciplinnes.
There are universities only because human beings are by their nature curious। Universities are centers of curiosity. They are repositories and preservers of the accumulated knowledge and understanding of humankind as well as the primary centers in the modern of world of the pursuit of pure inquiry, that is, inquiry for sake of slacking our thirst for understanding. Why is this valuable? Well, why is anything valuable? It is a good question, isn’t it? It’s a philosophical question. Curious? You ought to be. To think that one thing is more valuable than another is already to have presupposed answers to a range of questions, questions which most people scarcely raise for themselves. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to know whether you had any good grounds for thinking the things you do, and to know what they were and how they supported what you thought? It would be. But then what you are seeking is understanding. The question why understanding is valuable answers itself. Once you ask the question, any sound answer requires that you seek an understanding of what makes something valuable and what understanding is. Understanding pays its own way.
What about philosophy in particular? Philosophy is a very abstract subject, and it is one of the more difficult ones। It has many values, but one is that it requires exercise of very advanced analytical skills, and very highly developed language skills, the sort mentioned above that are inseparable from being able to think well. Now, what is philosophy? That’s an interesting question.
Here is the beginning of an answer.
Prepared by the Philosophy Department at the University of Florida. © २००७
For full article please go to:
http://web.phil.ufl.edu/ugrad/whatis/useof.html, dated:०१-०७-२००८