Philosophy is a unique subject that deals with finding the answers to questions that are often taken for granted. Most of these questions cannot be solved by a single answer, and philosophers often disagree with one another. The objective of philosophy is not necessarily to come to the answer, but to further people’s knowledge of the world and of themselves by making rational arguments that support an answer.

Philosophy attempts to answer primitive questions that many people assume are known. For example, while a historian may discover an event that happened in the past, the philosopher attempts to find the meaning of time. Since philosophers attempt to answer these basic questions, they have few tools to work with. Thus, the difficulty in philosophy lies in the primitive nature of its questions. Unlike the practical questions of science, philosophy deals with abstract ideas that do not result in an ability to directly change the world. It provides the raw materials for other subjects and enables them to make their discoveries.

Philosophy deals with questions about the world that we find naturally puzzling. Thus, philosophy has not changed much from the past, as the same questions asked today have been subject to inquiries for centuries. Such questions include the meaning of life and survival after death.

Philosophical problems arise out of the attempt to arrive at a clear, coherent, and acceptable view of the world. This involves using arguments are that are true and valid. True arguments are those that are based on accurate premises. Valid arguments are those arguments that contain premises that are related in a rational manner such that they are rightly concluded from the given premises. In philosophy, a clear, coherent, and acceptable view of the world is not just desirable, it is essential. That is why many philosophers like Socrates are often dissatisfied, but it is better to be rightly dissatisfied than to be ignorantly blissful.

– Sara Nourian, “What Is Philosophy?”

previous article     table of contents