Tuesday, January 17, 2006


The definition of philosophy is notoriously difficult. Its etymology (from the ancient Greek word "Φιλοσοφία" (philo-sophia), which means "love of wisdom") is no guide to its modern meaning. It does not help that some of its meanings include what it is generally agreed not to be (such as mysticism, or an outlook on life, such as in 'my philosophy of drinking beer').
However, there is a broad agreement that philosophy is characterised by a certain method, subject matter, and objectives. See definition of philosophy for some standard definitions. It is generally agreed that the method of philosophy is enquiry of a systematic nature, guided by the canons of rationality, and that its most distinctive feature is the use of logical argument.
Most (though not all) philosophers believe that philosophy is not experimental. It does not employ the methods of empirical science, and its questions are not to be answered by observation or experiment, although observation and experiment may prompt those questions.
Philosophy is entirely intellectual. It does not invoke revelation, reference to sacred texts, myth or religious knowledge of any kind to answer its questions.
It has a generally critical nature. Philosophers try wherever possible to examine and criticise beliefs that we commonly take for granted. Philosophy students are taught not to take anything on trust, 'particularly if it seems obvious and undeniable'. florida discount health care Architectural Outdoor Lighting florida discounted dental care

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