The Definition of Philosophy


Paul Graham just described his view of philosophy. He essentially said it’s the attempt to find increasingly general truths that have useful applications.

I mostly agree with this, but I’d like to offer my own definition. I see philosophy as the attempt to reveal the nature of reality through thought, logic and discussion as opposed to through the use of the scientific method.

Obviously I’m all for the application bit that he mentions, but I think any revelation that gets us closer to understanding “reality” will end up being applicable in some way regardless of whether or not that’s our goal.

In other words, if we’re starting with problems that face us here in this world, and we’re using philosophy to try and learn the truths behind these problems, those truths — once revealed — will automatically have an application.

This is what I try to do. I try and find patterns and truths in reality and then describe them. I am attempting to find the courage to do this without fear, while simultaneously being precise with my language and careful with my research.

My attempts are usually rather sloppy and feeble, but I am improving this with time. As I think Graham’s essay points out, there isn’t really all that much to learn in order to be able to proceed with good footing.

grep understanding knowledge.

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