Philosophy has been in existence for many centuries ago . This is the case because it bears certain values that are achieved in studying it. This essay will analyse this question using the arguments presented in defining philosophy and its branches. According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary ,”philosophy is seeking after wisdom or knowledge especially that which deals with ultimate reality or with the most general causes or principles of things and ideas and human perception and knowledge of them, physical phenomena (natural philosophy) and ethics (moral philosophy)”.
According to this definition most of the values of studying philosophy may be derived from it. Philosophy clarifies language. It is the tool with which we expose nonsense and express ideas in a way that is unambiguous as possible. Mell Thophson in his book called, “Teach Yourself Philosophy” says that philosophy makes a distinction between “analytic” and “synthetic” statements. He says that analytic statements are known to be true once the definition of their terms are understood, for example 2+2 =4. Analytic statements do not require research or experimental testing.
Philosophy studies reality. By this we mean that it digs deep down the fundamental principles of existence which in some sence both unify and transcend the insights offered to us through religious faith and scientific knowledge we gain as a result of observation and experiment. Philosophy is the study of justification. It is concerned with how we justify claims we make. For example it seeks knowledge through such questions as “how do we know that there is the physical world? , that we are not dreaming? , that goodness and beauty exist? If we can be able to justify claims we minimise chances of error in our daily pursuits There are several branches of philosophy.
In trying to explain what they are and how the operate, we will be able to pin-point the basic values they hold. The major traditional branches of philosophy are metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science and logic. Jenny Teichman in “Philosophy A Beginners Guide”, defines metaphysics as made up of ontology, which is the study of he nature of existence and of coming to be, together with epistemology which is the theory of knowledge.
He further says that metaphysics also asks questions about the mind and soul, god and time, space and free will. This enquiry into the general nature of being and knowing inevitably leads to a vast knowledge and perfection. John Hospers in “An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis”, define ethics simply as the study of moral values. He further says that ethics has two different meanings. Firstly it can mean the study of theories about intellectual origins and justification of moral codes and of morality in general.
Secondly it can mean the particular code of conduct adopted by individuals or professionals. Anthony Harison-Barbet in “Mastering Philosophy” says that ethics among other things importantly discusses motivation, especially with altruism and selfishness. He says that ethics asks questions about moral principles and about happiness, justice, courage and in a general way about an human states and traits which are regarded as valuable and desirable or valueless and undesirable. This branch is really valuable since it shapes the world into perfection for the enjoyment of any persons that lives in it.
Political philosophy deals with the government, the citizens and the state. It is not concerned with the details of a particular government or modes of governing. Rather it tries to answer more general questions as “why should one obey the government of the state he lives in? ” some notable contributions in the field of political philosophy include Plato’s “The Republic” and “The law” and Aristotle’s “Politics”. By answering several political questions we can be able to shape the governments for the betterment of all the citizens of that state.
Jenny Teichman says that the idea that there are philosophical problems which are peculiar to systematic sciences is fairly recent. He says that until the nineteenth centuary , what is now called philosophy of science formed part of the general theory of knowledge. He says that nowadays philosophy of science is regarded as a distinctive branch pf philosophical endeavour and is taught as such in many universities sometimes o science students. It is studied alongside history of science.
He says that philosophical problems associated with science include ontological questions about reality of theoretical entities such as gravity, magnetic force, electrons and anti-matter. It also examines the relationships between the various special science and theories about the possibility of reducing all the science to one master study usually taken to be physics. He says that philosophy of science concerns itself too with methodological questions connected wit inductive reasoning, reasoning from effects to causes and vice versa and scientific and reasoning generally.
It is in field science that we have experienced a lot of innovations that have made life a lot more easier and worthy living, hence studying it seems to be really valuable. Jenny Teichman says that the word “logic”, comes from the Greek “logos”, which means thought or reason and it is possible that because of this logic has sometimes been defined as “the study of the laws of thought”. Aristotle who is said to have invented the subject described it as “the study of proof”.
Anthony Harrison-Barbet describe logic as the study of that aspect of strict or deductive proof which is concerned with its soundness or unsoundness. Logic has generally set out rules for testing soundness. It is not possible to find out what is true or false. Logic in general improves the general thinking process and equips an individual with a critical mind. Philosophy is said to be the parent body of all disciplines of study. They have branched of from philosophy and now concentrate on aparticular field. They have expanded in their own right.
For example great philosophers such as Pythagoras (born c. 570 B. C. ) ,invented what is called pythagorean theory which is used in mathmatics, sir Isaac Newton was the brain behind many scientific theories that have made a lot of contributions in shaping the world. In summary philosophy digs deep into all other fields of study such as philosophy of language, jurispudence aesthetics and many other more fields. In conclusion the values of studying philosophy can firstly be derived from the definition itself and by going down the list of its branches, we can find the immense value of studying it.