“The way people view the world.”
“The study of mysteries we don’t understand.”
“The love of wisdom.”
“Your outlook on life.”
“I don’t know. I have absolutely no idea what it is.”
“What is philosophy?”
“The study of the things we don’t have answers to.”
“It’s the study of anything and everything.”
“The way we live our lives, I think.”
“Deep thinking about deep questions.”
“A subject that questions the meaning of life.”
“Whatever you want.”
“The study of beliefs.”
“Being able to think whatever you want about something, as long as you back it up.”
To me, philosophy is an attempt to answer every unprovable question that man has ever asked. With this I suggest two things: one, that this is my answer to the question, “what is philosophy?” as I believe the answer to this question is unique to oneself, in the same way one is unique in relation to the seven billion other humans on earth. Two, that every philosophical question we attempt to answer and prove will never be answered nor proved. I say this because I would categorize any provable question under ‘Science’.
Despite my second proposition of philosophical questions being unprovable, I’ve feebly tried to prove my first suggestion regarding all the varying -and in my opinion- completely correct answers to the question of what philosophy is. Jessica and I questioned many people throughout our day, and received many different answers as to what they believed philosophy was. Some said philosophy studies the meaning of life, while others vaguely described it as the study of anything and everything. Google says it’s “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline”. Me? I agree with every definition, despite some definitions clashing (even with mine!), because I stand to support my opinion that only each individual can correctly define what philosophy is, for themselves. Jessica’s definition of philosophy is correct in Jessica’s eyes, just as Cassidy’s definition of philosophy is correct in Cassidy’s. My definition is correct to me, and my definition tell me that everyone’s eyes interpret things differently, but are subjectively accurate nonetheless.
I like to define philosophy as an attempt to answer unprovable questions, once again, as I believe anything provable falls under the realm of science. From a young age we used our philosophical thinking-cap, wondering why the grass is green, skies are blue, and clouds are white. We pondered what made us grow, sneeze, and bleed. We questioned where babies came from. We made up answers that made sense to us. At this stage in our lives, this was how we did philosophy. We had no way to prove our theory of the sky being an upside down ocean, or that storks dropped babies off at doorsteps. School taught us that chlorophyll makes grass green and white blood cells clot our wounds. As science began to answer questions that once seemed unanswerable, we progressed to philosophize about other things: How does the moon revolve around the earth which revolves around the sun? Why is it always sunny in California, and raining in Vancouver? Why am I happy? Why am I sad? Once again, science proved the existence of gravity, and showed us that certain activities boost serotonin levels. Science is based on proofs and what is, while in my opinion, philosophy is conceptual and what isn’t. If we ever are able to prove a philosophical question, it’s no longer a philosophical question, but now a scientific one with an answer.
So what is philosophy? It’s anything and everything I will never understand. But hey, that’s partially why I took this course.