Nature of Phil

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language etc. It is a basic problem of defining philosophy, its methods and the problems etc. Many interpretations we can find in Indian and Western tradition regarding the nature of philosophy.

Philosophy is a fascinating subject which is personally relevant to every intelligent human being. There are some characteristics of a philosophical attitude which made difference in regard to the intellectual discipline of philosophy. The philosophical attitude includes a sense of wonder, doubting, criticism, reflection, universality, tolerance, preference to experience and reason. Philosophy affects the life of a philosopher, it also effects his social life and also effect the civilisation and culture.

Aristotle said long ago, “All human beings by nature desire to understand.” We are curious if nothing else, and it is one of the more admirable traits of human beings. We like to know what is going on and why. After we have fed ourselves and put a roof over our heads, and attended to other basic needs, the question arises what we are to do with our time. One suggestion is that we should raise our heads a bit and look around us and try to understand ourselves and things around us. This turns out to be interesting. It is the genesis of both science and philosophy, with science taking the more empirical road to understanding and philosophy the more conceptual. These are complementary enterprises and there have always been important connections between them which continue despite the growth of institutional science and its increasing splintering into more and more highly specialized sub-disciplines.

There are three common ways of introducing philosophy to people. One way is to focus on the ancient Greek thinkers who founded western philosophy, especially Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle etc. Second approach is  to  give a survey of the history of philosophy to students. The third and most popular way to teach philosophy is the “problems” approach which includes identifying, explaining and attempting to solve philosophical problems like, God, Reality, Freedom , Truth, Mind and more. It is an attempt here to familiarise students with some of the most basic problems in philosophy.

Philosophy in India

The term Indian philosophy (Sanskrit: Darshanas), may refer to any of several traditions of philosophical thought that originated in the Indian subcontinent, including Hindu philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and Jain philosophy. Having the same or rather intertwined origins, all of these philosophies have a common underlying theme of Dharma, and similarly attempt to explain the attainment of emancipation. Darśana ( Sanskrit: दर्शन) is a term meaning “sight” (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding; from a root dṛś “to see”), vision, apparition, or glimpse. It is most commonly used for “visions of the divine,” e.g., of a god or a very holy person or artifact. Indian Philosophy have been formalized and promulgated chiefly between 1000 BC to a few centuries AD, with residual commentaries and reformations continuing up to as late as the 20th century by Sri Aurobindo and other philosophers.

Sources:

  • Richard E. Creel, Thinking Philosophically: An Introduction to Critical Reflection and Rational Dialogue, Wiley-Blackwell, 2001.
  • BA First Year (Notes), Philosophy, Paper-I, USOL, Panjab University Chandigarh.

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