How Philosophy is Relevant to You to Gain Deeper Understanding of Self
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word “philosophy” comes from a Greek word ‘philosphia‘, which literally means “love of wisdom”.
Philosophy for everyone
Further, philosophy is something that can benefit everyone’s life. However, very few people are in a position to benefit from applying philosophy in their lives. The reason being, many languish in a misconception that philosophy is only for smarter and wiser people and not for ordinary mortals. Notwithstanding, philosophy is for everyone.
The problem has to do with what we think of when we hear the word philosopher or philosophy. Historically, ancient philosophers like Aristotle and Plato practiced a discipline that was very much like the natural sciences we practice today. They would generally study not just metaphysics and ethics, but also art, biology, and more.
It should come as no surprise then that many great theories came forth out of this age of inquiry, regarding the nature of the universe as a whole. One of the biggest concerns had to do with epistemology, or the question of how it is that we come to know things, what sort of thing is ‘knowledge’, does it have a form, for example.
Therefore, one of the best answers to these questions, Plato’s theory of Forms has enjoyed widespread recognition for centuries. This theory is designed to explain the phenomena of mental categorization, among other things. It reveals why it is that we group certain things together, and exclude other things.
Perceptions mask reality
To express this idea, Plato uses the image of a person chained up in a cave. There is a fire behind him or her, and the real world passes before that fire, so that the only view of the real world the person have is the shadows cast by the flames. In this way, Plato shows that when we look at any object, we’re not really seeing them. We’re seeing just a grim approximation that doesn’t match the true reality, the Form. Continued to next page…
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