Philosophy


hope A development of human consciousness typically seen to have emerged during the Greek Classical era, the word Philosophy means "Love of Wisdom", and the seeking of wisdom.

In an important sense Philosophy, or the human activity of undertaking philosophy as the seeking of wisdom - suggests that there is some problem with humanity in having to seek it. That is to say, that we assume that wisdom is something that we should seek, then it seems that
we place a high value on it - and since we accord it that high value (and rightly so) is to admit the
we have somehow lost wisdom.


To provide a context for Philosophy, it is important to note that it is an approach to viewing the
world in ways that are more substantial, have more integrity, more clarity, and more truth than
other modes of thinking. In contrast, the ways people apprehend and think about life and the world
that are dogmatic, or arise from what we call superstition have the tendencies of being more like unfounded opinions than any type of thought or belief that is grounded in something that can be demonstrated. Basically, Philosophy is about understanding human existence and the human
mind, and the world around us. There are many descriptions of what Philosophy is, and like many
of the concepts discussed on this site it is hard to pin down to a single sturdy definition.

What people do tend to agree on, amongst those who pursue philosophy and rationalism, is that through testing, argument,
analysis and counter-argument,  that people can come to some knowledge that is durable and ontologically sturdy. In a way, philosophy acknowledges that nothing is absolute, but attempts to pin down ways to understand the mind and life in ways that are somewhat supportable and in turn, support life. In another sense, philosophy tends to seek to disabuse people of notions about life and existence that are fantastical, do not support life, impede or control life in ways that abnegate life, or can be shown to simply be wrong.

The Greek Philosopher Socrates discussed what he termed the "Method of Elenchus" - meaning
the method of evidence to support an argument or a belief and which may have originated the Empirical method which relies on evidence that can be tested and re-tested to obtain the same
result. In other words, the people who were inclined to pursue philosophy were those who wanted
to back up their assertions with anything that looked like proof, and at the same time to expose charlatans and Sophists as they were called.

Philosophy as philosophy is not the concern in this discussion however, what we are concerned
with rather is the processes of mind that first understood that the way reality and beliefs were
being created and supported (and disseminated) were problematic in any number of ways. To
state it in more base terms - some people looked around their environment and asked "What is
wrong here" in some cases, and in others asked what is right.  And then, "how do we know?"

It was this fundamental uncertainty about the life experience which the minds of some people experienced that compelled them to question things. Interestingly, it was the desire for certainty and stability (homeostasis) that compelled them to seek answers.  That is to say, something in these people reacted to what their cultural milieu was and they sensed, on some level, was amiss.

Here again, we are only observing a function of human consciousness that had a craving - whether that craving was to correct wrongs, or to induce and deduce wrongs - or both concomitantly - it
is apparent that consciousness was both volatile and unstable. For example, in moral philosophy
the questions of what is right or wrong are central - should we assume that we should already
know this and the asking of the question is evidence of a symptom? Should we assume that
having to ask these questions was a result of another overlay of conscience or morality that
preceded philosophy and that philosophy was a reaction to? The questions as to the origins are intriguing.

In other words - is philosophy a reaction to a loss of knowledge that humanity once had, or humanity might have had under different circumstances? Or to go one further, is philosophy the seeking of wisdom of a type that was lost  - and philosophy itself is a symptom of that condition. The fact of questioning is an essential evidence that the mind is unstable, or creates instabilities that it must
cope with. Typically, this is done using the belief/doctrine of  rationalism
which too can lead to the empiricist approach (once a basis for evidence is defined). While this is a somewhat simplified discussion - the point is that people perceived that not all things were as they appeared, and it
was the mind that apprehended this fact and sought to contend with it.

In other words, the mind had to find a way to look at itself (as a reflective process) and try to understand how that 'subjective' mind interacted with the objective world and the consciousness humanity operated on to exist in the world in a somewhat stable manner.

In this view, philosophy is a purposive invention. But why?

More to come.
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