What is Philosophy? What are the Characteristics of Philosophy?

What is Philosophy? What are the Characteristics of Philosophy?

Philosophy is the activity of asking and questioning. So philosophical knowledge is reached by question, by questioning.

The questions of philosophy are questions that can be gathered under the meaning of life. What is the general structure of the universe in which human life takes place? What is the destiny of man in this universe? Can one know the universe in which he lives and arrange his life according to this knowledge? What is beautiful? What is right? What is society? What is the state? While answering such questions about the meaning of human life, philosophy draws on the information provided by other types of knowledge and sciences and gives general, holistic answers.

What are the Characteristics of Philosophy?

Philosophical knowledge, like other types of knowledge, has its own characteristics. These can be listed as:

* Philosophical knowledge is the product of a critical attitude that curious, inquiring, questioning and doing research. It emerges from people who are curious about the beings and events around them.

* Philosophy is a regular and systematic knowledge. What needs to be understood from order and systematicity is the effective use of the principles of logic in all issues covered in philosophy. While dealing with issues and concepts in philosophy, contradictory judgments and inconsistent views cannot be included. No information is a philosophical knowledge without a systemic integrity.

* Philosophical knowledge is cumulative. Accordingly, the reasoning, the results reached by each philosopher by trying to achieve a consistent whole by affecting each other.

* Knowledge of philosophy is unifying and integrative. When philosophers make explanations about the universe, they do not look from a single aspect. It takes existence, life as a whole and tries to explain it without separating it.

* Knowledge of philosophy is universal. Anything that enters human life can be the subject of philosophy. Philosophy is a universal knowledge characteristic because it embraces the whole, deals with existence completely, tries to understand the human being considered within its own essence and structure, and tries to ground the values ​​that exist everywhere.

* Philosophy of knowledge does not feature progress. In other words, the philosopher who came after in the history of philosophy is not seen as someone who surpassed the first thinkers and solved the problems they could not solve. Because philosophy cannot be isolated from its own history.

* The accuracy or inaccuracy of philosophical knowledge cannot be the subject of investigation as in the sciences. Since philosophers’ perspectives, creative intelligence and living conditions are different, they can reach different conclusions on the same subject. One cannot say that one of these different views is right and the other is wrong.

Source:  Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Introduction to Sociology” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Other Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM)