Philosophy is a Greek word derived from the words philein meaning to love and sophia meaning wisdom, therefore literally philosophy is defined as the love of wisdom (Moore and Bruce, 2002, p.2). Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental issues connected to our existence, reason, values, mind and language in a critical and systematic approach. Philosophy is also said to be the set of views and theories of a particular philosopher concerning its aspect. This essay expounds on philosophy and particularly discusses how one can develop one’s own philosophy. In this essay, four elements of philosophy are briefly discussed to show how they relate to one’s philosophy through giving one’s personal reactions to what philosophers have put across. The four elements to be discussed are metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and praxis. In tackling the above elements, a definition of each will be provided, as well as its story, including the views of two great thinkers on those elements. Lastly, a reaction will be provided towards each of the above-mentioned elements. Through tackling the above elements, one will presumably be able to ultimately develop one’s own philosophy.
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Metaphysics is defined as a branch of philosophy that explains the true nature of reality in both visible and invisible matters. It also includes the relationship that exists between mind and matter, fact and value, substance and attribute. It is said to be a philosophical study of being and knowing. It is not a religion but it is closely related to spirituality.
Aristotle, although he did not know about the word ‘metaphysics’, put it in four names for the branch of philosophy which is the subject matter of metaphysics, namely: ‘first philosophy’, ‘first science’, ‘wisdom’, and ‘theology’. One hundred years after his death an editor of his works gave the name of “ta meta ta phusika” to his fourteen books which meant “that come after the physics”, and these books are now called Aristotelian Physics. The title of the books was probably meant to warn the students that they should first master the physical ones before attempting metaphysics. Development and application of the word ‘metaphysics’ was because the word ‘physics’ was coming to be a name for a new and quantitative science which was becoming more inapplicable to the investigations of the traditional philosophical problems about the changing things (Metaphysics).
In the current meaning of the word there have been, and still are, paradigmatic metaphysicians who claim that causes come first, and this denial is the thesis in the current sense. Heraclitus and modern philosophers that are both nominalis and materialistic, as well as some others, like Parmenides and Zeno, deny that there are special classes of objects that do not change.
I think the nature of spirituality, as being transcendentally, is physically or mentally realistic. Since my childhood, I have had on and off contact with my spirits. After the above posts about spirits, I feel I need to connect with my spirits more often. I believe, that my real life offers explanation of the spiritual connection processes, and this can ultimately help me improve my spiritual life.
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the nature and the limitations of knowledge and how it relates to the truth, justification and beliefs. This term was introduced by James Frederick Ferrier who was a Scottish philosopher. Historically, epistemology has been one of the most investigated branches of philosophy and one that has provoked many debates. Much of these debates are concerned with the justification of knowledge claims and how knowledge relates to the concepts of truth, evidence and beliefs.
James Ferrier provided the earliest impressive idealism ideas. In his book “Berkeley and Idealism,” he wrote about the essential truth and defect. According to him, the element of peculiar speculation is its concreteness and faithfulness to reality. He didn’t believe that the ego of someone was inseparable to all that is known but rather the senses and our perception modes. He asserts that knowledge is the ultimate element in existence.
Descartes defines knowledge in terms of doubt and distinguishes rigorous knowledge (scientia) and the lesser grades of conviction (persuasion) as a conviction where there is room for doubt but where knowledge can never be shaken by any stronger reason because it is a conviction based on a strong reason. Descartes understood doubt to be a contrast of certainty and said that as certainty increases then doubt decreases and vice versa. The certainty of Descartes is psychological in character though it is not merely psychological. It has to involve some kind of rational insight because during the moments of certainty someone’s perception is guided by some great light in the intellect. It might seem clear to us that Descartes conceives of advancing the truth by characterizing a “rule for establishing the truth”. I don’t think that the truth can be inconsistent as one pursues the truth and thus the truth ought to be a requirement of Descartes’ brand of strict knowledge (Routledge, Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
I think, in idealism the truth is that we can touch things or see people interacting and agree on what they are seeing because even though there is the problem of idealism stating that our perceptions are all different they are similar in a way. I always view idealistic views as real and believe that there is no mind independent reality.
Praxis is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with values such as politics, religion or ethics. The value of values is self-evident and they bring humans beings into existence as instrumental values. Praxis is the process by which a theory is enacted, practiced and realized, thus, this is the engaging and practicing of ideas. In the writings of Karl Marx, Plato or Aristotle, it has been a recurrent topic with meanings both in political, educational and spiritual realms.
In Marx's presentation of his theses ’On Feuerbach’, a new theory was presented preceding materialism and idealism which can be described as the Philosophy of Praxis. He said that “philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; he point is to change it." Marx meant that only by self-emancipation can people liberate themselves, only by their own praxis, can the oppressed change their consciousness as they subvert the power of capital. Praxis, therefore, can help people overcome traditional dualism. According to Aristotle, praxis is the moral disposition to act truly and rightly. The main concern is to further human wellbeing thus a good life requiring an understanding of other people. When we think what we want to achieve, we change the way we are going to achieve it as there is no prior knowledge of the right means to realize the end.
In developing my own love praxis, I realized that I need to live out Love. I need to express my love by living out my faith, being compassionate to people, being charitable and assisting wherever I can and also by forgiving those who wrong me. We are free to love others to fulfill their selves, value their gifts and encourage their efforts. This love requires my praxis, the praxis will reveal and fulfill my faith to flourish and mature my love (International Viewpoint).
Axiology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and types of values. An example is ethics and religion. It deals with what’s good and value, aesthetics which is the philosophy of art, ethics the moral philosophy and the social and political philosophy. The concept of value emerged after treated as an economical sense but philosophers defended the “domain of values.” (Axiology).
The term refers to the writings of Austro-German phenomenologists Franz Brentano, Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartman. Brentano’s axiological theory depends on the conception that claims that having thoughts of a dog means the thought is about a dog. Brentano gives a three way psychological phenomena; thinking, judging and feeling. These, according to Brentano, are phenomenon of interest and thoughts are neither true nor false but just presentations before the mind although some judgments contain correctness. Brentano’s aim was to argue that ethics is secured through the intentional objects of emotions and desires and not through a theory of practical reason (Axiology).
Max Scheler introduces the issue of "ethics of goods and purposes." Scheler argues that ethics requires a foundation that is independent of any empirical realization of any goods and asserts that values are intentional objects of feelings giving an example that colors are intentional objects of sight. If put in perspective, it means that a person can see a color red as being capable of feeling goodness. But, as values are priori essences, goods are empirical goods hence values are known through feeling. Therefore, the color above is but an abstract quality and not an empirical thing and thus he says that values exhibit a structure of their own and can be arranged in this order; sensory values, life values, spiritual values and the value of holiness (Axiology).
Due to the collapse of traditional views of values, the world has witnessed unprecedented confusion and great losses because of the many conflicts. I believe, that justice should mark the relationship between the subject and sovereign. If we all conform to the horizontal order of the Universe, then justice will prevail and be maintained in our society.
We have seen that philosophy is the systematic study of ideas and issues and a comprehensive quest to understanding the world principles of conduct. We have seen all the four branches of philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, axiology and praxis) and studied them, what mean and my view on their framework. And finally I have made a stand on my philosophy and what I stand for on each of the four subfields of philosophy.