Philosophy tends to get a bad wrap from those who aren’t all that fascinated with it. I love it, I’m not going to lie. Because we’ve moved into a very empirical age, there is a lot of criticism against the stereotypical immaterial disposition of a lot of philosophy. However, there are problems that science hasn’t answered for us, yet. That’s not to say that science one day won’t answer those questions. But, while we’re all sitting around waiting for that to come about or running around trying to help that come about, there are others who are working on those problems in philosophy.
Philosophy has taken us some good places in the past. A good number of scientists and mathematicians (you know, those people who invented calculus and physics and sent us to the moon and shit like that) were also philosophers. It is at the very least conceivable that there is still some work (though in my opinion, there is still a lot of work) that philosophers can do to make advancements in knowledge.
So, what is philosophy? I’ll be completely honest here. I’ve been studying philosophy for 3 years now. Sometimes, I still don’t really know the answer to that question. Half of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing. The dictionary on my computer says:
phi•los•o•phy - noun (pl. philosophies)
- the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, esp. when considered as an academic discipline
- a set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning such study or an spect of it
- the study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience
Philosophy is kind a pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. It is a discipline with boundaries and structure. It requires critical thinking, very precise thinking.
What philosophy is not, however, is simply thinking. It’s not just musing about possibilities. It requires focused description of theories and argumentative positions with support. Simply pondering is not enough.
All of that makes philosophy sound very serious. And it is serious. But, it can also be a lot of fun. There are jokes to be made, interesting arguments to be discussed, new concepts to be explored. There are still old problems to be solved, and new ones crop up all the time.
And, a final note on problems. A lot of philosophical problems are serious, but some of them can be silly and fun. If you know anything about internet culture in the 2010s, you know about “first world problems” and things like that. So, welcome to Philosophy Problems. You’ll get some content like that here, but you’ll also get some of the serious stuff, too.