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The Branches, Nature And Importance Of Philosophy As A Scientific Descipline

1571 words - 6 pages

IntroductionI am going to describe the nature of philosophy and show its importance as a scientific discipline. I will list some of its branches and explain the part of philosophy they deal with. This in turn will describe the subject matter of philosophy as a whole.The word philosophy is derived from two Greek words: philo and sophia. The former means love, while the latter means wisdom. Therefore, the word philosophy simply means love of wisdom. Wisdom is usually associated with experience and age. Besides, it is also used for a wide knowledge and sound judgement about the various things in life.Philosophy can be defined as a rational systematic enquiry into reality or being in its ultimate essence. Reality here means all knowables, while ultimate essence means the deepest meaning of all that can be known. Philosophy does not accept things as mere objects or ideals; it seeks the underlying meaning. Unlike empirical sciences, philosophy talks about the things we are familiar with. 'Philosophy does not discover new empirical facts, instead reflects on the facts we are already familiar with, or those given to us by the empirical sciences.'(Stewart, D 1992:4). Philosophy widens the scope of that which we already know. For example, from our sciences and experience we all know what the world is like and how we ought to behave. However, our knowledge without philosophy is in a small limited perspective, but with the study of philosophy, it is widened and deepened. The main interest of philosophy is to apply reason in analysing things. For instance, some people have beliefs and observe them, but they do not even know where such beliefs come from. Philosophical questions would be: should they do what they do? Which difference does it bring if they observe and keep such beliefs? Philosophy provides tools to an understanding of humankind, the world, and our responsibilities in the world.To make philosophy more understandable, let me discuss briefly its subject matter. Since philosophy is an enquiry into reality or all knowables, the subject matter is any area of human concern. This includes the nature of beauty in art, human conduct, standards for distinguishing just from unjust societies and, nature of reality itself. The subject matter would sometimes depend on whom you ask: the philosopher of ethics would say philosophy talks about human acts; on the other hand, a philosopher dealing with languages, would say philosophy is linguistic analysis; a political philosopher would also say that philosophy deals with social justice. In general, philosophy is concerned with all things to which empirical sciences give no answers. For instance, empirical sciences cannot give answers to the following questions: what is justice? Does God exist? What is the importance of human existence? It is impossible for the empirical sciences to take justice in the laboratory trying to find what it is! On the contrary, philosophy as a discipline, tries to give answers to such...

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