What is Philosophy?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by pointwithinacircle2, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

    I became interested in philosophy about 15 years ago, shortly after I became a Mason. I was surprised by the reaction of many of my friends when I tried to talk to them about the new ideas that I was discovering. Many people that I talked to hated philosophy with a passion. Even using the word was enough to start them off on a tirade about how philosophy is all useless garbage and that it is nothing more than someone's opinion. What's more, these people were totally unwilling to listen to my views on the nature of philosophy. This really shocked me at first. I did not understand where all this animosity was coming from.

    Today I realize that many people dislike philosophy because they heard some quote out of context, something like "nothing can be known", and it sounded stupid to them. Truthfully, I think philosophy is a lot of work. It is difficult to digest the many ideas that the world of philosophy presents. However these ideas represent truths that are consistent from topic to topic. So that once you have grasped how an idea is used in one instance you can apply it to many situations.

    The definition of philosophy that I like is "Philosophy is the Search for Truth in All Things". I think that definition is what first attracted me to the subject. I remember carrying the first book I bought on philosophy around with me and when I met someone who I thought might have some insight I would haul it out and read a sentence and ask them what they thought it meant. It has been 15 years but I still remember that sentence. It was "An idea cannot be at the same time something you think with and something you think about". It took me three weeks to find an answer that made sense. But it was worth it. I learned something important about what it means to think.

    So that is my take on the nature of philosophy. What does philosophy mean to you?
    Bloke, jwhoff and Morris like this.
  2. Morris

    Morris Premium Member

    To me it's contemplating /applying reason to discover truths.
    jwhoff likes this.
  3. Brother JC

    Brother JC Moderating Staff Staff Member

    My first-year philosophy text was titled "The Art of Thinking." I've always thought that was a pretty good definition.

    Sent from my iPhone using My Freemasonry
    SeekerDownunder and jwhoff like this.
  4. Bro Darren

    Bro Darren Premium Member

    I love the saying "Pity is the man with just one book"

    Some people appose the concept of philosophy without understanding what the word even means. These people are hard headed, closed minded and short sighted.

    A church that I once attended preached against it even though Christianity is a philosophy in it's self. Their reason behind it was that all of the answers to life are in the bible and it was a sin to look outside the biblical teachings for understanding.

    Without the art of thinking, we are simple drones, following blindly the single teachings that are designed to keep us blind to life and under the control of someone else's ideals.

    I have found, for me personally, that exploring life and pondering many different ideals has strengthened my faith is God.
    jwhoff and AndreAshlar like this.
  5. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member


    "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." Henry Ford

    Want to deny that Masonry is elitist? Ponder our teaching philosophy in the face of Ford's statement. It's like going to boot camp to get off unemployment. Good for you but a lot of people aren't willing to put in the work. Yet most men can do it if they decide to. Far more than whether a man can do it, whether he wants to or not is what separates him and makes him a member of an elite.

    Philosophy comes from Greek words meaning love of wisdom. Which brings us to what wisdom means.

    Knowledge isn't power. Correct organized knowledge applied is power. Logic addresses the correct bit. Philosophy addresses the organized bit.
    jwhoff and Chaz like this.
  6. JohnnyFlotsam

    JohnnyFlotsam Premium Member

    One of the first college courses I took was titled (something like) "Philosophy 102: Introduction to Symbolic Logic". A requirement for the journalism major I was pursuing at the time, it was not something I would have elected. It turned out to be the single most valuable course I ever took. It taught me how to think, and reason. Mastery of that material should be a core requirement for any baccalaureate degree. It is, IMO, an understatement to say that the world would be a very different place if more people had such mastery.
    jwhoff and Morris like this.
  7. Morris

    Morris Premium Member

  8. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

    Thank you for the link. I enjoyed looking at the site and I have applied for membership.
  9. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    Excellent! Too often I have met well educated "technicians" who never addressed the subject. Thusly, they still fall prey to the same unsound arguments that sway the masses. A man who learns the humanities frees himself and, by extension, mankind.

    Each of the posts I've read on this thread thrill my soul. However, no one should mistake the legions of darkness who prey on the fears and ignorance of man. Never fail to share your thirst for knowledge and wisdom and, more especially, the logic required to discover the truth in the end.

    Our numbers are small. The work is abundant. Keep the fire burning no matter the cost.
    Chaz likes this.
  10. Mege

    Mege Registered User

    Philosophy is the study of Life
  11. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

    I just think that "philosophy of money" is really kinda cunning!
    The Essence is 1 -- "Paper"! But different "Image&Numbers" are just -- increasing -- Purchasing Power! This is Genius!


    download (1).jpg
  12. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

    Why do people dislike philosophy? Good question. I know that I myself disliked philosophy for a long time based on...we'll call a lack of full understanding as to what philosophy is. I think those who dislike it fall into 1 of 3 categories (or possibly more than 1):

    1) It's hard/sour grapes. Contemplation is not an easy thing. Deep thinking requires intelligence, determination, concentration, and patience. There are many out there not willing to put in the work and thus will decide that it's not worth doing.
    2) It's not useful. Sure, we could argue this point till the end of time, but in terms of your everyday life, going to work, paying the bills, feeding yourself, etc, philosophy isn't really necessary. Life is difficult and our time is scarce. Many people simply feel that of the various pursuits available to them that philosophy is not worthwhile. Just as art appreciation may not be worthwhile to some people. That doesn't make them dumb, or wrong, it just means that those individuals don't see value to them in it, which is okay.
    3) It has been misrepresented or not fully represented. This was me. I had a number of friends in high school who, upon graduation, decided they needed to go to college but had zero direction in life. Stoners, every one of them, they liked to pass their time getting high and posing philosophical questions to each other. So, naturally, they decided to go to school and major in philosophy. (I'm not kidding, like 10 of them) So, I then got to listen to their drug induced ramblings about Plato and Socrates and abstract philosophical concepts that were just mind numbingly silly. Maybe it was taken out of context, maybe the philosophers that they were quoting were idiots, I'm not sure. But some of the arguments I heard in those days from these oxygen thieves while they did nothing productive for years on end certainly soured me on the whole of the discipline.

    I will say, I haven't fully explored them, but I do still find some of the 'classic' philosophers to be ridiculous. Things such as asking 'if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?' may be great as an exercise in thinking and discussion, but I find too little value in it to devote any real energy. Now, you start pulling out the writings of Hermes or Pythagoras, and you've got my attention.
  13. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

    Mortimer Adler (my favorite philosopher) once defined philosophy as "the search for the best way to think about things". When you look at it that way it becomes eminently useful in daily life. For example, what is the best way to think about; going to work, paying the bills, or Freemasonry for that matter? I agree that sitting around talking about what someone else thinks is mental chewing gum. It is deciding what your answers to the questions are that matters.
    SeekerDownunder and hanzosbm like this.
  14. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

    BroBook likes this.
  15. Canadian Paul

    Canadian Paul Registered User

    Isn't 'being philosophical' what we were instructed to devote ourselves to as Fellowcrafts?
    dfreybur likes this.
  16. otherstar

    otherstar Registered User

    The word "philosophy" means "love of wisdom." I've always found that to be too loose of a definition. I prefer Adler's definition for regular (non-academic) use: "philosophy is the search for the best way to think about things." To do any deeper than that is to begin to explore more specific philosophical schools of thought...and that tends to foster disagreement. I think Adler's definition is the most broad, and acceptable definition that I've found.

    As an aside, I've studied philosophy for most of my life at this point. I started college at 18 as a philosophy major, and wound up getting my Bachelor's in Philosophy, as well as a Master's degree in philosophy. I'm 45 now and even though I've been out of school for 15 years, I still study philosophy because I love it. I have loved reading the previous responses on this thread.
  17. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

    [Do not judge the person who suicided himself,
    Cause if the man do not develop spiritually, then devil can easily lead him to such an end.
    The man makes this, because he has not got strength to oppose this temptation.
    He, who had fallen exhausted, is not a sinner.
    The sinner is the one, who walked beside him and didn't give a hand, on time.]
  18. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

    The initial post-mortem state seems largely determined by the quality of light body of the deceased. Thus the departed floats up through the layers of Existence until his/her density matches the surroundings.

    Thus one makes one's own initial post-mortem experience during life.

    I have sometimes seen humans (mainly my relatives) assisted after death where they did not know how to pass beyond the limits of their personalities. This assistance enabled them to join in further unfoldment processes.
    Ressam likes this.
  19. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

    Completely disagree....the man that takes his own life is a coward pure and simple......im a veteran of the war in Iraq...ive had plenty of friends take their own lives and its a permanent solution to a temporary solution....when u kill ur self u no longer suffer but everyone uve ever known now suffers for the rest of their lives

    Sent from my LG-H811 using My Freemasonry Pro mobile app
  20. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

    You've not understand correctly, what is written above, Sir.
    Shortly, it's about -- Spiritual Development & Responsibility.

Share My Freemasonry