Philosophy definition

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Philosophy is basically about people and the lives they choose to live. As a result, it possesses both personal and practical nature and living features. A person's philosophy is a set of standards and beliefs that they follow in their daily lives. It is built on information and beliefs rather than the mere art of notion generation, invention, and manufacture. Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers who was imprisoned for his actions. While his goal was to teach young people of his time to think critically, Socrates was condemned of poisoning their minds. However, philosophy finds a lot of relevance in all fields of life since, as opposed to serving the interests of the people in power, it is based on liberating the oppressed. Through metaphysics, philosophers are able to answer the question: what is there? Epistemology gives them the opportunity of answering the question: how do we know? Therefore, philosophers must not be contented to agree with the concepts availed to them with the aim of cleaning or polishing them; they must start by creating and fabricating them and then posit these ideas in ways that can convince other individuals with recourse to these ideas. Therefore, philosophy is the ultimate love for wisdom and makes the attempt of thinking in critical and rational dimensions on the most important questions of life. While every person has a philosophy of life, the real ideas of belief upheld by these individuals go a long way in determining the kind of people they become. This paper intends to give an explanation of what philosophy is by selecting five quotes drawn from publications of different authors.

The Way Philosophers Explain Philosophy

Martin Luther King Junior in Letter from Birmingham Jail says, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (80). In this quote, Luther King brings out the reality in his philosophy by informing the public about social injustices committed unto them. People have to be informed of these injustices. It is a form of change of the paradigm in the society, and it occurs as a result of transformations in the thinking processes of its members. Philosophy goes a long way in sharpening minds while liberating people from the ties of prejudice evident in different societies. With minds in the right states, Martin Luther King in this context encourages the oppressed to criticize the norms of their oppressors since they are not in line with the rationalities of humanity. Martin reveals the fact that philosophy acts as a great tool of providing members of the society with the coveted mental disposition of viewing situations in the right way while rejecting irrational and harmful practices of their oppressors.

In Russell’s Value of Philosophy, “Everything in contemplation, that is personal or private, everything that depends upon habit, self-interest, or desire distorts the object, and hence impairs the union in which the intellect seeks” (n.p.). Here, Russell emphasizes on the importance of philosophy in social integration as opposed to splits and fragmentation. Integration means blending or coming up with a whole. In this case, there is a greater value in blended social systems used to form a whole through collaborations and integration. Social diversities and heritages are well conserved if they resulted from struggles. In the first sentence of this quote, Russell reveals the importance of fighting for what is truly ours since it is only through such struggles that the zeal of conserving the gains realized is achieved. In Crito, Socrates says; “I am justified in trying to escape without the consent of the Athenians. And if I am clearly right in escaping, then I will make the attempt; but if not, I will abstain.”(n.p.). Socrates’ words play a vital role in bringing out the meaning of philosophy as the love for wisdom and morality. Since wisdom is majorly an affair based on value and judgment, it is concerned with the intelligent upbringing of the affairs of human beings, and how well they interpret their experiences. Therefore, upright judgment and interpretation of experiences brings objective forecasts. In the quote, Socrates warns of making unwise decisions that are at times short sighted with the aim of meeting individual gains as opposed to the wellbeing of the whole society and future generations. In this case, getting justice would be of great significance for future generations.

Immanuel Kant in Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals puts a lot of emphasis on morality of human life as a key foundation of philosophy. He elaborates this idea when he says; “Act as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other, in every case as an end, never as a means only.” (n.p.).Through Kant’s philosophy, human life is being appreciated since there is room for proper judgment and reasoning. Further, this quotation reveals the role of philosophy in emphasizing the obligations dedicated to human beings towards their neighbors, family, and friends. It is clear that violation of other individuals’ freedoms and rights is a transgression since it is driven by selfish interests without considering the fact that rational beings must always act in esteemed ways. Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations reveals that “ In every other art and manufacture, the effects of division of labor are similar to what they are in this very trifling one; though, in many of them, the labor can neither be so much subdivided, nor reduces so great a simplicity of operation” (n.p.). This clearly brings out the fact that philosophy is a reflective activity and if well applied, it goes a milestone in bringing about economic growth. Philosophy is the love of knowledge. The love of knowledge, on the other hand, leads to the development of the mind that in turn translates to economic development. Adam Smith emphasizes on division of labor as a way of reaching maximum economic outputs from industrial ventures. Similarly, Smith in this quote elaborates the importance of philosophy in entrepreneurship through generation and actualization of business ideas as a result of division of labor.


The quotes referred in this paper play a very vital role in bringing out the meaning of philosophy. It is clear that this phenomenon is the love of wisdom. It is one of the greatest tools used in bringing social transformations. Similarly, philosophy brings social integration as opposed to fragmentation. Based on the ideas presented in this paper, philosophy as a body of knowledge finds social, economic, legal, and political applications in different aspects of life. Philosophy is one of the strongest agents of social change by sharpening the minds of the members of a society while liberating them from the ties of prejudice. In this case, it is considered as an instrument of freeing human beings from captivity by revealing what is socially right. When coming up with decisions, it is important to consider their long term effects as opposed to their current influences. Since philosophy is the love of wisdom, philosophical decisions are long sighted and considerate of future consequences.

Works Cited

Kant, Immanuel. “Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals.” Philosophy E-server, Accessed 31 January 2017.

King Jr, Martin Luther. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The Atlantic Monthly; August 1963; The Negro Is Your Brother, vol. 212, no. 2, pp. 78 - 88.

Russell, Bertrand. “The Value of Philosophy.” Skepdic, Accessed 31 January 2017.

Smith, Adam. “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.” Pixel Online, Accessed 31 January 2017.

Plato. “Crito.” Pitt, Accessed 31 January 2017.

May 24, 2023

Philosophy Life Science

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Socrates Belief Theory

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