What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is at the heart of thought. In order to be more consciously aware of what you are thinking and why it is important to understand the role and relevance of philosophy in and to your own life. Life Coach and Author, A.J. Mahari, incorporates a lot of her education in and understanding of philosophy to her own life, her coaching passion, and her writing.
For so many people struggling to know more about who they are and what that means for them in their own lives, what could ring more true than Rene Descartes’, “I think, therefore I am” brand of widsom?
What is Philosophy?
A question such as this likely has almost as many answers as there are philosophers and seekers. Some would say that one way to begin to undestand philosophy would be to refer to it as science of questions. However, below we find a place to start.
The word philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom. What philosophy is, in and of itself is a philosophical question that philosophers have sought to define, outline, understood and treated differently throughout the ages.
In his text, Philosophy, A Text With Readings, Manuel Velasquez, writes, “Philosophy begins with wonder. Although many of us know very little about the jargon and history of philosophy, we have all been touched by the feeling of wonder with which philosophy begins. We wonder about why we are here; about what we really are; about whether God exists and what She or He is like; why pain, evil, sorrow, and separation exist; why a close friend was killed, whether science tells us all there really is to know about the universe, or whether intuition and feeling open us to realms of experience and reality that science cannot grasp; whether there is life after death; what true love and friendship are; what the proper balance is between serving others and serving ourselves; whether moral right and wrong are based merely on personal opinion …”
Velasquez continues, “Although philosophy begins with wonder and questions, it does not end there. Philosophy tries to go beyond the standard answers to these questions that we may have received when we were too young to seek our own answers. The goal of philosophy is to get us to answer these questions for ourselves — to make up our own minds about our self, life, knowledge, art, religion, and morality without simply depending on the authority of parents, peers, television, teachers, or society.”
Many of our religious, political, and moral beliefs are beliefs that we accepted as children long before we could question them or understand the reasons behind them. In this way our basic beliefs about reality and life become our own: We accept them because we have thought them through on our own, not because our parents, peers, and society have conditioned us to bleieve them.
In this way we gain a kind of independence and freedom, or what some modern philosophers call autonomy. The goal of philosophy, then, is autonomy: the freedom of being able to decide for yourself what you will believe in by using your own reasoning abilities.
It is central to personal growth, development throughout life, and to self-improvement, that you examine how philosophy affects your life. Do you have your own personal philosophy? Having a thoughtout and well-understood personal philosophy is a foundational cornerstone of truly understanding who you are – authentically. It is also vital in terms of being fully aware of your goals, values, morals, and ethics.
© A.J. Mahari
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