I'm Andy Kelly and I'm Irish and live in the UK. I'm going to be lending a hand to Justin in his great new forum. Justin's done a great job in bringing us this online opportunity to educate and be educated by each other.
I'd like to start this thread with a brief summary of just what the term philosophy means.
is a field of study that includes diverse subfields such as aesthetics
, and metaphysics
, in which people ask questions such as whether God exists, whether knowledge is possible, and what makes actions right or wrong. The fundamental method of philosophy is the use of reasoning to evaluate arguments concerning these questions. However, the exact scope and methodology of philosophy is not rigid. What counts as philosophy is itself debated, and it varies across philosophical traditions.
The term philosophy
comes from the Greek
word "Φιλοσοφία" (philo-sophia)
, which means "love of wisdom". The term is notoriously difficult to define (see definition of philosophy
) because of the diverse range of ideas that have been labeled as a philosophy. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy
defines it as the study of "the most fundamental and general concepts and principles involved in thought, action, and reality". The Penguin Encyclopedia
says that philosophy differs from science in that philosophy's questions cannot be answered empirically, and from religion in that philosophy allows no place for faith or revelation. However, these points are called into question by the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
, which states: "the late 20th-century... prefers to see philosophical reflection as
continuous with the best practice of any field of intellectual enquiry." Indeed, many of the speculations of early philosophers in the field of natural philosophy
eventually formed the basis for modern scientific explanations on a variety of subjects.
Informally, a "philosophy" may refer to a general world view
or to a specific ethic
Do I have a phd in philosophy? - No I don't but I do have a very keen interest in the topic of philosophy.
Although I come from an Irish catholic background I do not subscribe to any faith in particular. That doesn't mean to say I am anthiest, neither does it mean that I subscribe to any regular belief system. I respect belief systems, atheism and agnosticism as long as people have pursued their chosen standpoint rationally rather than by blindly accepting the results of years of indoctrination.
I am extremely interested in the study of philosophy and take an empirical view regarding that which we should accept as our philosophical viewpoint. Surely this is far preferable to the easy option of unconditionally accepting that which we are told to believe.
Although I cannot deny the existance of a God neither can I confirm God's existance. Philosophy for me is the pursuit of truth, truth which may herald answers that we may ultimately be comforted by or indeed be discomforted by as it perhaps contradicts our previously predetermined concept of what we perceived truth to be.