Philosophy Question


Jo Canadian
#1
Here's a topic I havent seen here yet, and it's based on a simple question that somehow has never been able to be answered. (It kept us argueing for a whole semester)

What is Philosophy?

What would your take on the answer be?
 
Cosmo
#2
I went to my trusty Wikipedia site and found the best description I've yet come across for the word:

Quote:

The word "philosophy" derives from the ancient Greek (Φιλοσοφία, philosophia) and translates to "love of wisdom". It suggests a vocation for questioning, learning, and teaching. Philosophers are curious about the world, humanity, existence, values, understanding, and the nature of things.

Full article (external - login to view)

The article goes on to explain a lot of different things, but for me the basic understanding of any word comes from knowing what it's derived from. To me, that indicates the intent of the word before it gets expanded and diluted in mainstream usage.

"Love of wisdom" comes pretty close to my understanding of it.
 
Colpy
#3
True Story.

Many years ago I'm sitting at the bar in the little pub at UNB-SJ.
It is about 2 in the afternoon. A couple of seats down there is a guy so drunk he appears to be passed out. His head is down on the bar.

An acquaintance calls to me from a nearby table "Colpy, have you got a Introduction to Philosophy textbook?"

"Philosophy", I reply, "is bull****. It is either so obvious it is redundant or so obscure it is irrelevant"

The passed out guy raises his head, looks at me, applauds briefly, and collapses back down onto the bar.

I ask Larry, the bartender "Who is that?"

"Oh, that's Dr. Langham, the Philosophy professor"

Says it all.
 
MMMike
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy

True Story.

Many years ago I'm sitting at the bar in the little pub at UNB-SJ.
It is about 2 in the afternoon. A couple of seats down there is a guy so drunk he appears to be passed out. His head is down on the bar.

An acquaintance calls to me from a nearby table "Colpy, have you got a Introduction to Philosophy textbook?"

"Philosophy", I reply, "is bull****. It is either so obvious it is redundant or so obscure it is irrelevant"

The passed out guy raises his head, looks at me, applauds briefly, and collapses back down onto the bar.

I ask Larry, the bartender "Who is that?"

"Oh, that's Dr. Langham, the Philosophy professor"

Says it all.

 
Said1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy

True Story.

Many years ago I'm sitting at the bar in the little pub at UNB-SJ.
It is about 2 in the afternoon. A couple of seats down there is a guy so drunk he appears to be passed out. His head is down on the bar.

An acquaintance calls to me from a nearby table "Colpy, have you got a Introduction to Philosophy textbook?"

"Philosophy", I reply, "is bull****. It is either so obvious it is redundant or so obscure it is irrelevant"

The passed out guy raises his head, looks at me, applauds briefly, and collapses back down onto the bar.

I ask Larry, the bartender "Who is that?"

"Oh, that's Dr. Langham, the Philosophy professor"

Says it all.

I don't blame the poor lad. After being forced to discuss philosophy with teens and tweens upon returning to school in my late 20's, I was often driven to drink afterwards.
 
jimmoyer
#6
Perhaps that story of Colpy's reflects the Lack of Philosophy, a nihilism that inspires no one.

That little story just blew smoke over the matter.

Wonder what that professor was drinking?
Probably low quality crap.
 
Summer
#7
My guess would be that this was "sarcastic applause".
 
jimmoyer
#8
I generally agree with Colpy, even liked his little story because it is funny.

But, philosophy is no useless appendage, but rather it is who we are.

Man does not live by bread alone.
 
gd
#9
I was forced to question when is a river not a river.

I think philosophy is a poor shadow of its former self.

I question wether evolution breeds psychopaths?
 
fourty2
#10
Colpy's story is funny, but philosophy is important. Annoying at times, with all the circular arguments and imbiguous answers, but necessary. It helps us to understand who we are and what is important in our lives. The idea of morality sprung from philosophy, and I can't imagine a world without moral confines.
 
peapod
#11
Of course when pondering these questions, its always good to hum along with monty python
:P
Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
Who was very rarely stable.

Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
Who could think you under the table.

David Hume could out-consume
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, [some versions have 'Schopenhauer and Hegel']

And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel.

There's nothing Nietzche couldn't teach ya
'Bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.

John Stuart Mill, of his own free will,
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill.

Plato, they say, could stick it away--
Half a crate of whisky every day.

Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle.
Hobbes was fond of his dram,

And René Descartes was a drunken fart.
'I drink, therefore I am.'

Yes, Socrates, himself, is particularly missed,
A lovely little thinker,
But a bugger when he's pissed.
 
Said1
#12
Quote:

And René Descartes was a drunken fart.
'I drink, therefore I am.'

Love it. Live by it.
 
PoisonPete2
#13
In my early years of University study, I took a half-credit course in Ethics. We went through many of the classic philosophies of how a life should be lived, the hedonists, sophists, the views of the epecurians(?), and into the modern philosophies of Mills, Rand, Sartre etc and how they contributed to the Ethics.

The final exam consisted of the student marking a grade on the exam paper and then having to justify that grade using the material of the course. What a strange experience.

Philosophy??? A question begging for answer. A blueprint for living. An idea seeking a following. A search for balance. The riddle of Life. The end product of an argument. and on and on ad infinitum (or is it?)
 
Hard-Luck Henry
#14
Very good, pea.

Philosophy is important, and valuable. It's an attempt to understand our fundamental nature, the nature of the world, reality and how we experience it. Like all activities it has occassionally been a victim of fashions, becoming dry, with overly-academic obsessions with linguistics for instance, but at heart it deals with real, gripping questions - some of the most interesting questions of all, IMHO.

"An unexamined life is not worth living."
 
Jo Canadian
#15
I find that the philosophical quest to discover ourselves seems to take two different directions. One is that Philosophy drives science and what it is trying to achieve, and second philosophy is also used by the Religious also in search of that why. Two extremely different factions are somehow able to use the same line of questioning to learn more of themselves.... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
 
Said1
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

I

The final exam consisted of the student marking a grade on the exam paper and then having to justify that grade using the material of the course. What a strange experience.

What did you get?
 
PoisonPete2
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Said1

Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

I

The final exam consisted of the student marking a grade on the exam paper and then having to justify that grade using the material of the course. What a strange experience.

What did you get?

Answer - LOL : I passed. And the professor ran as an NDP in the next Federal Election (and failed).
 
Colpy
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

Quote: Originally Posted by Said1

Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

I

The final exam consisted of the student marking a grade on the exam paper and then having to justify that grade using the material of the course. What a strange experience.

What did you get?

Answer - LOL : I passed. And the professor ran as an NDP in the next Federal Election (and failed).

Both fair marks, I think.

Anyway, my little story was meant to be just that......a funny aside.

I had another story about a Professor Ott of the Philosophy Department, and Dr. Stewart-Roberts actually.....but those are other tales.

Obviously philosophers and I have a hard time seeing eye to eye.

But if you have any moral framework, any ideas on how society should work, any belief in a God or gods, any feeling of responsibility, any real thought about any subject, then you have a philosophy, and are a philosopher.

I just find some of the stuff by the "greats" pompous and irrelevant.

And have said so to philosophers....which is why Professor Ott tried to strangle me..........(jokingly, of course)
 
jimmoyer
#19
The first day in a Great Books course, I walk in noticing some students sitting already looking, and so approaching a seat I looked at what they were looking at, having entirely missed it walking in, and there was my English teacher standing on his head on the desk.

Imagine that in public school today? I don't think eccentricity is allowed anymore.

Stories, debate, questions are the best way to enter the world of thinking, the world of everything ---- philosophy.

Parables, stories are always a lot better than essay, as Jesus and Socrates certainly knew.

Philosophy by essay has its uses, but nothing beats a good story.
 
Finder
#20
A tree falling in a forest with nobody to hear it.
or perhaps my favorite one.

"I think there for I am." Then if I'm not sure if anyone else thinks around me, you are just shadows or figments of my imagination... a Matrix of some sort.... ahhhhhhhh...

I'm so happy I've wasted my money on becoming a History major and not a Philosophy major. Well at least someone else will be in the unemployment line with me. =-D
 
Summer
#21
LOL.... my fiance has a History degree. Doesn't actually use it much in his working life, but he finds it helpful in understanding the world, and when he writes.
 
Finder
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Summer

LOL.... my fiance has a History degree. Doesn't actually use it much in his working life, but he finds it helpful in understanding the world, and when he writes.

Yeah people snicker, when they find out I don't wish to become a teacher or prof. There like ""what else is it good for?"
 
Colpy
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Finder

Quote: Originally Posted by Summer

LOL.... my fiance has a History degree. Doesn't actually use it much in his working life, but he finds it helpful in understanding the world, and when he writes.

Yeah people snicker, when they find out I don't wish to become a teacher or prof. There like ""what else is it good for?"

A History degree is great if you have my job......a guy locked in the guard compartment of an armoured truck with you........and he is obviously just waiting for fascinating lectures on the Battle of Culoden.
 
Finder
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Colpy

Quote: Originally Posted by Finder

Quote: Originally Posted by Summer

LOL.... my fiance has a History degree. Doesn't actually use it much in his working life, but he finds it helpful in understanding the world, and when he writes.

Yeah people snicker, when they find out I don't wish to become a teacher or prof. There like ""what else is it good for?"

A History degree is great if you have my job......a guy locked in the guard compartment of an armoured truck with you........and he is obviously just waiting for fascinating lectures on the Battle of Culoden.

lol... funny I work with 3 other Security Supervisors and Directors whom have degree's in odd fields.

oh hum. =-(
 

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