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Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry

What is philosophy?: My experience trying to answer this question

Part one: the initial response
When first faced with this question, my immediate response as a 16 year old was” I don’t know, I’m not a philosopher”To be completely honest, it’s not something I’ve ever given much thought too. When I think of Philosophy, I think of an old man with a masters sitting in a stuffy old library, thinking about things that are irrelevant to my life. Being forced to answer this question has been an interesting experience.
Part two: the headache
I did a lot of late night Internet surfing and watched alot of CollegeBinary three minute philosophy videos on YouTube ; but the more I looked at, the more confused I felt. I wanted to be able to find an easy answer, but there isn’t one. I find this both frustrating and strangely comforting. The more I looked into philosophy, the more intimidated I felt. I should have started with the history of philosophy, and some famous philosophers, and everything else they have in the philosophy page on Wikipedia. But instead I made the mistake of diving straight into metaphysics. It didn’t seem that complicated when I was reading the definition, but after about two hours, I was trying to think of answers to metaphysical questions such as “what is this individual stream of experience? What am I?” This is only one of many, and it’s not even one of the weird ones. At one point, I ended up on a site titled ” the mysteries of life” and found myself wondering things like ” if a fly has no wings, is it called a walk?” At that point, I started to feel like philosophy is just a junk drawer where they put the things they can’t categorize or find answers for. They threw it all together and called it philosophy. how does somebody become a philosopher? How can you create a science out of unanswered questions? I felt like nothing was clicking, I had no answer to the question, let alone creating a project around it. It wasn’t until I learned about models and theories in economics class that I started to develop my idea of what philosophy is. Which leads my to the final part of my rant
Part three: the final answer
In definition, philosophy is the quest and love for knowledge. I agree, but I feel on a more personal level, philosophy is our way of looking at the world, sort of like our model for life. It’s the way we take in reality and the way we process what is happening around us. Everybody has their own ideas on how the world works; it’s a combination of personal experience, beliefs, and of course, bits and pieces of other people’s philosophical theories. I think that it is different for everybody and there is no particular answer. As we grow and age, we change, learn and become more understanding of our surroundings our own personal philosophy will change will do the same. Looking bigger picture, I think philosophy is the study of the human experience and our attempt at understanding and making sense of the unknown.

http://youtu.be/qNjmPyHIoOc Here is one of the three minute philosophy videos I was talking about

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Discussion

One thought on “What is philosophy?: My experience trying to answer this question

  1. i enjoyed the initial melodramatic reaction any student would have to such an open-ended assignment, and being able to watch it develop and evolve into an opinionated idea as you continued through your paper.

    Posted by jadedevaras | September 17, 2013, 6:47 am

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