You Have To Be Philosophical

World Philosophy Day

Thursday 20th November was World Philosophy Day. Philosophy is a study that seeks to understand the mysteries of existence and reality. It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and to find what is of basic value and importance in life. It also examines the relationships between humanity and nature and between the individual and society. Philosophy is a uniquely human characteristic and it arises out of wonder, curiosity, and the desire to know and understand. Philosophy is thus a form of inquiry – a process of analysis, criticism, interpretation, and speculation and it has a long tradition in both eastern and western culture.

Philosophy has had enormous influence on our everyday lives. The very language we speak uses ideas derived from philosophy. For example, the classifications of noun and verb involve the philosophic idea that there is a difference between things and actions. If we ask what the difference is, we are starting a philosophic inquiry. Even a person who claims that considering philosophic questions is a waste of time is expressing a view on what is important, worthwhile, or valuable. A rejection of all philosophy is, in itself, a philosophy!

Remember, whilst all animals can think, it is a sign of intelligence to be able to think about thinking. Even if you think philosophy to be pretentious and a waste of time, the fact that you can think this confirms what Descartes said – "Cogito, ergo sum": I think, therefore I am!

Ray Henshaw