The Value Of Philosophy Essay

1533 words - 7 pages

To understand the value of philosophy, one must look at its origins. Linguistically the word philosophy comes from the Greek term philosophia, meaning “the love of wisdom.” Wisdom can be defined as the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Ultimately philosophy can be defined as the love of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. When one hears the term philosophy questions such as “what is the purpose of life?,” “what is right and wrong?,” “is life fair?,” “what hold everything together?” and “does God exist?” come to mind. These same questions were asked by philosophers thousands of years ago. So what is the value of asking these questions when there is no definite answer to them even after thousands of years? The Value of philosophy is to identify important fundamental questions about oneself and the world through the process of critical thinking and argumentation to broaden one’s horizon. This claim is supported by Bertrand Russell’s statement that philosophy is studied for the questions not the answers, Socrates’ famous quote “he unexamined life is not worth living,” Plato’s allegory of the cave the most commonly cited excerpt in philosophy, and the progress of justified reasoning that has been made by philosophical thinking.
Bertrand Russell a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic stated

Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good. (The Problems Of philosophy )
This quote illustrates that philosophy is like no other area of study when it comes to answers, philosophy doesn’t rely on definite answers, it relies on critical thinking, argumentation, thought process and reasoning to expand one’s knowledge on topics. For instance, the question “Does God exist?” has no definite answer (no one can positively deny or validate the existence of God), but there are thousand of questions such as “how does believing God affect people’s behaviors?” and “is society better with or without God and religion?” that can follow this single question that will lead one to greater knowledge. Russell said “Philosophy, like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge. The knowledge it aims at is the kind of knowledge which gives unity and system to the body of the sciences, and the kind which results from a critical examination of the grounds of our convictions, prejudices, and beliefs”(The Problems Of philosophy ). This quote...

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