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Various thinkers have attempted to define philosophy in various ways, but there is no widely accepted concept of philosophy as of yet. Philosophy is the study of reality's and existence's mysteries (Kern 78). Philosophy seeks to understand the essence of reality and wisdom, as well as the true meaning, significance, and value of existence. Furthermore, philosophy looks at how a person interacts with society and how humanity interacts with nature, since humans are only here because of nature (Rosen et al. 77) As a result, comprehending their relationship with nature is critical to comprehending how human life is shaped. Philosophy arises out of curiosity, wonder and the desire for knowledge and understanding. From the above perspectives of examining philosophy, it is thus clear that philosophy can be defined as an analytical process that takes uses speculation, interpretation and criticism to arrive at a conclusive and informed understanding of knowledge (Rosen et al. 75).
It is important to note that as much as philosophy does not have a precise definition, the term philosophy came from the Greek word Philosophia. Translation of philosophy in English means love of wisdom (Bottin et al. 19) In this sense wisdom is the active use of intellect or intelligence to examine things and come up with conclusive knowledge about them (Bottin et al. 22). Philosophy first emanated from the Western countries mainly Greece during the 500's BC, and the early philosophers attempted to discover the nature of reality and the world because many people in those days believed in tradition, superstition, religion and magic for interpreting things and the world (Bottin et al. 19). The early philosophers, however, had doubt in these sources of knowledge because they were unreliable and for this reason, they began to seek knowledge through thinking and the study of nature.
Relationship of philosophy and real life
Research shows that philosophers tend to ignore the real world because the world is full of happenstance details. Philosophers argue that philosophy has been successful because it focuses on deducing universally acceptable truth from basic thinking principles. To better understand the relationship between philosophy and the real world, it is important to focus on various types of philosophies and key among them is "experimental philosophy" or commonly known as "X-Phi." Experimental philosophy argues that people should be asked what and how they think through philosophy rather than the traditional philosophy which relies on intuitions commonly known as "common sense" that are presumed to be shared by every human being. For instance, the philosophical question of whether people can be morally responsible for their lives and actions if there is no free will?
Philosophy cannot be separated from real life because of several underlying roles and importance that philosophy plays in lives of human beings. Philosophical thoughts cannot be escaped because they form the central part of human existence. Almost every human being has been puzzled over time by basic philosophic questions such as "what is the meaning of life?" "Does this meaning exist?" "Is there life after death?" Different people have different perspectives on what life means to them, but they still ask philosophical questions because the questions shape their perspectives towards life. Most of the people assume that examining philosophic questions is a waste of time but research indicate that the same people sit down on their own and carry out a reflection on the personal outlook of life. In fact rejecting philosophy in one’s life is philosophy itself because one has to justify the reasons why he or she rejects philosophy. This justification calls for a critical examination of various perspectives and premises to logically come to a conclusion about the meaning of life.
Through philosophical study, people clearly define their beliefs and are stimulated to think about important questions on the real life of human beings. Philosophy provides an avenue for people to think of the past philosophers and what their thoughts are which translates into realizing the importance or the value that the thoughts have on individual's life. The influence of philosophy on human beings’ real life cannot be underestimated. For instance, the language that human beings use can only be classified through the basics of philosophy.
Evolution of modern day language classifications began with great Philosopher Plato, Stoic, and Aristotle through their great work of distinguishing the meaning of different words. Aristotle put forth a theory called Nominalism which states that the similarities of various things or objects are made up of the commonality between those things. Stoic on the other hand analyzed grammar and came up with different distinctions of parts of speech. These classifications include verbs, nouns, conjunctions, articles, and appellatives. Language according to philosophy refers to the study of sign processes through which communication is relayed, and meaning is extracted. The language was therefore constructed out of philosophy because it is universally accepted as truth. Linguistics, on the other hand, help human beings to understand how one language is different from another language and what constitutes a particular language. Noam Chomsky who is the famous philosopher that put forth the aspect of grammar and syntax and how the two are related believed that human beings are born with an innate understanding of "universal grammar" and the exposure of people to the external environment only triggers antecedent knowledge. Furthermore, the meaning of different things come out clearly when they have correct intentionality because one thing is another thing. Therefore, the meaning of a term depends on the intentionality of that particular term which means that the hopes, fears, desires and believes of human beings are intentional. It is only through intentionality of language that the true meaning of words or phrases can be obtained. Therefore, it is evident that language which is part of real life evolved from philosophy and the classifications and meaning of language cannot be obtained without philosophy. For people to differentiate between actions and things, philosophic knowledge is necessary.
Another important aspect of real life is education and different systems of education. Education systems follow philosophic ideas of the society setting within which the system is established. These philosophic ideas guide the school system on what children should be taught and for what purposes. For instance, in democratic societies, the system insists on people learning on how to think freely and make choices for themselves. Nondemocratic societies, on the other hand, discourage free thinking and the free making of choices because they believe children should always surrender their interests and be submissive to the state interests without questioning.
It is important to note that every institution within the society is founded on philosophic ideas, whether it is the government, marriage, law, business, industry and family which means that philosophy is the core of existence of all the society institutions. The differences in philosophic ideas in these institutions help us to understand why people in different fields differ with one another ideologically.
Branches of philosophy and how they relate to the real world
For study purposes, philosophy is divided into five categories namely: (1) metaphysics (2) logic (3) epistemology (4) ethics and (5) aesthetics. All these branches of philosophy have a special application to everyday life of an individual.
Refers to the study of the basic nature of existence and reality of things. There are two broad areas of metaphysics that can be explored namely- cosmology and ontology. Cosmology is the study of the cosmos or the physical universe while ontology is the study of being or existence (Przywara 407). The concept of metaphysics attempts to distinguish between what is real and what appears to be real (Hoernlé 83). It exemplifies the principles and concepts through which one’s experiences can be examined and clearly understood. Several theories have been developed by philosophers in an attempt to examine reality and appearance, however, the main focus should not be on the theories but how these theories are applicable in everyday lives (Koons & Pickavance 4).
Meditation is an important aspect of human life because it helps an individual to know and understand their mind in a better way (Laos 97). Meditation is a basic metaphysical application that helps an individual to know their mind and thus enable them to develop conscious awareness. This forms the basis of effective personal or self-transformation practice (Tymieniecka 40). This implies that without metaphysics, one cannot realize who they are and therefore cannot undergo self-transformation which is necessary for growth and development.
Another basic metaphysical skill is remote viewing and influencing where an individual's awareness moves out of the boundaries of the five physical senses. With this skill, one can view the world from a different perspective and a wider scope that even complex problems can be solved with ease (Mumford 63). It allows an individual to select new feelings and thoughts and view probable futures thus influencing the outcomes of decisions made. Research reveals that effective application of metaphysics creates a connection between the mind and the heart which allows a human being to access the soul (Tymieniecka 43). It is only through a connection of the heart and the mind that an individual experiences enlightenment which is the way to personal empowerment, inner peace and better experiencing of the desired life. People who effectively think metaphysically are likely to enjoy better lives than those who do not.
It is the study of the principles and ways of reasoning to differentiate between sound (or bad) reasoning and unsound (bad) reasoning. For reasoning to happen there must be an instance called an inference or argument and for the inference to be proved it must be supported by premises (Hausman et al. 5) Therefore a good reasoning must provide support for its conclusion.
Fundamentally logic and logical reasoning are innate and universal. The capability to think logically is an innate thing in human beings and this remains an unchangeable universal truth. Logic calls for human beings to make their decisions based on well thought out reasoning supported by the available true premises. In logic, no outside forces such as pressure from other parties and opinions of other people should change an individual’s reasoning. In everyday real life situations, human beings are faced with problems that require solutions (Dubois et al. n.p) For solutions to be provided, individuals must make the best suitable decisions based on the existing problem. A good decision-making process requires a rigorous process of reasoning and gathering of evidence that supports the decision to be made, and for this reason, logic forms the center of our daily decision-making processes (Hausman et al. 92)
A branch of philosophy that explains the nature, foundation, and scope of knowledge. In epistemology philosophy, various ways of knowledge are explored, and the relationship between belief and knowledge is also examined. There are two kinds of knowledge namely: empirical knowledge and priori knowledge where priori knowledge is arrival at knowing independently without appeal to experience. Empirical knowledge, on the other hand, is obtained through observation and experience.
According to Socrates, learning and understanding of knowledge are gained via inquiry and personal experience. Therefore, the Socratic method of reasoning argues that one can only claim to have knowledge if he can prove it through personal experience (Hetherington 34). In the real life situation, awareness of true nature of knowledge is essential because it directly affects personal empowerment of individuals. Since epistemology is an understanding of the nature and source of knowledge, there are many practical areas where this knowledge can be applied. For instance, development of thinking skills in schools for children and students (Hetherington 121). Furthermore, cognitive functioning and performance applications utilize epistemology because it is necessary to understand the nature of the mind for enhancing the functionality of the applications. Human nature is affected by various influences such as religious leaders, political leaders, mass media and peer pressure and this shapes our thinking and belief system. Therefore, epistemology branch of philosophy helps to differentiate the true knowledge and what appears to be knowledge. This is important in the real world because people who have actual knowledge cannot be deceived and brainwashed into blindly following what is not true.
Ethics is the study of human character, conduct and values to distinguish between good and evil and to identify the nature of good and evil. Through this branch of philosophy, human beings get to know their obligations to themselves, to the society and others. There are many applications of ethics in the real world. For instance, respect for human rights calls for ethics because ethics ask philosophical questions of the basic things that human beings are entitled and why they are entitled to them. When it comes to career and work performance, ethics play a crucial role because ethical people are better professionals (Carne 128). Lastly, the most important real world application of ethics is environmental conservation and human interaction with animals (Newman 78) Ethics demand that human beings conserve the environment and interact kindly with animals because it is the right thing to do.
This philosophy is concerned with creation, art, and beauty (Nanay 4). It is impossible to separate choices by human beings from beauty and creation because the two go hand in hand with one another. Currently, most designers who make items go by what sells most in the market and for an item to sell most, it must be attractive. Aesthetics helps us to understand why consumers make some choices and prefer some items on the market and not others (Currie et al. 33). Currently, there are so many false and contradictory visual relationships where people have resolved to come up with designs that are full of pretense and visual lies (Currie et al. 192) People in the real world keep rationalizing fakery as quality based on the quality surface appearance (Brady 154). The issue of heavy and complex makeup in the real world tells us more about aesthetics and why people value beauty that much even when they are not acting ethically in the attainment of the beauty.
As much as philosophy lacks one specific definition, but the realities and existence of the human beings can only be explained through philosophy. Knowledge of human beings can only exist through philosophy because philosophy shapes human thinking and attempts to unravel the truth about mysteries in life. Different branches of philosophy have special relationships with philosophy.
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