October 13, 2009

Philosophy doesn't tell you what to think, it tells you how to think.

In the world we live in, people never stopped asking questions. Questions have been part of man’s existence and therefore it is part of “living in the world” ever since. From the oldest person down to the youngest kid, questioning is part of them and anything in between.

In this paper, I am going to deliver the things I learned in Introduction to Philosophy. Thus, answering the question: What is Philosophy? Also, I will explain anything about what I have learned in the subject in connection to the said problem..

So, what is Philosophy? It’s hard to define Philosophy because it covers a wide range of area of knowledge that people find it difficult to describe what it really is when asked what is it about. People sometimes are comfortable answering it in such a way that they will be able to explain it based on their life experiences. “The nature of Philosophy is itself a Philosophical question.” If Philosophy is part of man’s existence then man’s life is full of questions. As what I have read in some books, Philosophy doesn’t tell you what to think, it tells you how to think. Thus, a man with a Philosophical mind has never-ending questions on the top of his/her head.

Questioning is a basic human demand because it serves as a communication between a person and another person or in a group people. There are three Disciplines in Philosophy namely Discipline of Questioning,Discipline of Liberation and Discipline of Personhood.

In the Discipline of Questioning, asking questions is the way to discover, to know and to understand one’s self. A person will ask himself/herself who he/she is, what he/she is capable of doing and then reflect with it. When he/she is able to answer his/her questions and eventually understood himself/herself even more, Discipline of Liberation comes in. A person may, at first, belong in a box where all the sociological norms are nonrepresentational. He/she is already fixed with rules and regulations from the environment he/she is in. A person must give himself/herself a distance from where he/she belongs in the first place so that he/she will be able to view the world and accept experiences that will somehow shape him/her. In the Discipline of Personhood, a person may have experienced a lot from jumping out of the box and reveal himself/herself to the world. He/she will start asking questions about wisdom and love from other people and eventually gain knowledge from it. A person doesn’t stop to develop in these disciplines. One may not be satisfied with it and may repeat the process all over again.

Every person has his/her rights to achieve freedom. In fact, the human itself is freedom. There is no such thing as right or wrong. What we call right are those things which appear good to us; those which give us comfort ability and satisfaction on something. Wrong things are the opposite but it doesn’t usually go that way. For example, a woman who is pregnant might indulge in abortion. If that woman believes that abortion is good and not that bad at all, she might indulge to it. Since every person has the right to choose, she might choose to do it. It is the self that decides what is good and what is bad. On the other hand, she might refuse from doing it maybe because she knows and believes that it is a wrong act. Since the public portrays it to be injustice and bad; she believes it is illegal. Sometimes, what we call right is what the society and public decides to be a moral act that other things which are being tagged as wrong are stereotyped to be bad and immoral. Hence, majority is not always right.

People have minds. What is it to have a mind? The mind helps the person to think, to act accordingly and to respond what the person thinks is right. More importantly, it helps the person to formulate questions. According to John f. Kavanaugh, Philosophy is a personal affair of question-asking. People tend to ask themselves what, how or why whenever they encounter things in their everyday lives and relate it to the whole world. By question-asking, a person is either unconsciously or intentionally thinking. But before the person undergoes on the thinking process, he/she must able to get the insight which is then the so-called crucial element of thinking. One must get the point or insight then he/she is able to think. “Insight then is the beginning of thinking, as thinking is to philosophizing.”

“Living wisely is not always thinking wisely; thinking wisely is living wisely.” Socratic wisdom is about asking questions. It is by questioning that one can know the level of one's knowledge and ignorance. It is by questioning that one can know the truth. It is by questioning that one becomes wise when one knows that he/she doesn't know what he/she doesn't know. One certainly knows his/her knowledge when one knows what he/she knows. One is ignorant when he/she pretends to know what he/she doesn't really know. Also, one can gain wisdom if he/she knows not the whole thing but at least has the right knowledge to explain things.

Man exists in the world, search up in the world and later choose what they want to do. More likely, defining themselves. For human beings, we first exist and then later on we become something. That something is what we choose to do or to be. We won’t become something or someone until we choose what we are and what to become. Philosophy teaches us about living life wisely, thinking rationally and knowing your freedom. If a man is absolutely free, the man is responsible of himself. Also, questioning has been one of the things which help a person grow and develop one’s self.


  1. mark r.5:47 PM

    in philosophy, it only prove that man is a thinking, a willing, and a loving being....there's the thinking and willing part in your paper..where's the loving part???hehe..yn kc d pumapasok...hahaha :D


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