THE DEFINITION OF PHILOSOPHY

                         ================================

 

The term philosophy comes from two Greek words, philos, which means friend or lover, and sophia, which means wisdom. So philosophy is the love of wisdom and, more importantly, the philosopher is the friend or, better, lover of wisdom.

 

What is wisdom? The ideal for the philosopher is the attainment of a comprehensive and systematic elaboration of the first principles of being that provides definitive answers to fundamental questions about the origins, nature, and destiny of the universe and about the good for human beings and the ways to obtain it. And such wisdom is meant to be action-guiding. In the Republic Plato's injunction is in effect: "Become wise yourself, or if you are incapable of it, let yourself be guided by one who is truly wise."

 

The intellectual component of philosopher's quest encompasses ethical, metaphysical, and epistemic questions of the sort Plato discusses in his dialogues:



ETHICAL or MORAL

METAPHYSICAL

EPISTEMIC

virtue (the good)

being/becoming

truth

law (the right)

appearance/reality

knowledge

justice

power

certitude

friendship

causality and freedom

perception

courage

the nature of God

explanation

love

space & time

philosophical method

piety

the soul and immortality

dialectical argument