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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

Ramona-What is Philosophy?

Philosophy: “The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.”

Philosophy: “The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.”

Philosophy: “Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.”

Philosophy: “The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”

Philosophy: “A theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought.”

Philosophy: “A set of ideas about how to do something or how to live.”


Humans from all over the world from all different kinds of time periods have eventually came to this question in their lifetimes: what is life? Which brings us to another question, what is philosophy? I mean what is it really? As you can see above, it has been attempted to be explained in many different ways and it seems as if we all have a point of view about it, slightly unlike the other. To find out, in this essay I want to deep dig into the roots of Philosophy in the beginning of time. So now, I will introduce you to the Thales of Miletus, the first well known philosopher.  A member of the Seven Sages of Greece (which was known as the seven wisest men of the time), he was the father of philosophy—the first to question life and everything in it. I chose to write a little bit about him because I thought it was fascinating that one man and one question brought on a whole new era to the world which lived through time and is still going strong. He brought together the people who like to think and question and wade through the deep unanswered questions that others fear to reflect upon: the philosophers. Thales as the first person to investigate the basic principles, the question of the originating substances of matter and was the founder of a school of natural philosophy. Thales was interested in almost everything—investing almost all areas of knowledge, philosophy, history, science, math, engineering, geography, as well as politics. He proposed theories to explain many of the events of nature, the primary substance, the support of the earth, the cause of change. Thales was also involved in the problems of astronomy and provided numerous explanations of cosmological events which traditionally involved supernatural beings. His questioning approach to the understanding of life. He had too many interesting theories to write into this essay so this is the link that gives you some detail in what kind of a philosopher he was: http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Thales.html   

A sort of chain reaction started from the Babylonian age of Thales up to the 21st century as many philosophers followed in his footsteps. From Confucius to Socrates, Democritus to Plato, to Aristotle to Cato, Renee Descartes to Friedrich Nietzsche and to John Locke. All of these people had different views of what is philosophy so to tell you what it is exactly would be ridiculous because we all see it differently. Philosophy has no facts, research or investigation.  It is simply the roaming of the mind, the act of deeper thinking. The experience in our lives bring us to the conclusion we come up with. So with that, I think it is the study of what if and why. You study and think about why everything is the way it is around you, such as why the world is round and why the sky is blue. You question the what if’s such as what if the supernatural were real and what if there was an afterlife (if you are not religious). What is life, where did we really come from, are there really life on other planets and so on. I believe it is the literally the art of being able to step outside of the box with your mind and question all of life’s possibilities. To work together and be able to come up with answers that don’t have actual proof but could be real. It is overcoming all the barriers society puts up and being able to push them down with your mind.



One thought on “Ramona-What is Philosophy?

  1. I like how your essay includes reference to the early philosophers, and the scope of the questions they were asking; interestingly enough, their curiosity took them in a similar direction as our units will guide us – from Metaphysics (the study of the world, nature, reality), to Epistemology (inquiry into what can be known), and the questions you mention, as well: “What if..?” and “Why?”

    An idea I hope our next unit will push back against somewhat, however, is that “Philosophy has no facts, research or investigation.” While I’ll wait for epistemology to deal with “facts,” I think our exercises with logic will show that research and investigation may be what separates the mere “roaming of the mind” from the practiced art of philosophy.

    Thanks for sharing your essay here on the blog – I look forward to seeing you continue to develop your ideas in this space!

    Mr. J

    Posted by Mr. J | September 17, 2013, 5:04 am

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