What is the Field of Philosophy?June 26, 2021
Philosophers have been interested in many different questions as well as understanding the universe as a whole. A few of these questions can be listed as follows: What is the origin of the universe? What is the structure and form of the universe? Who am I? What is the origin and meaning of man? What is the destiny of the universe? What is the destiny of man?
As can be seen in philosophy; From the beginning to the present, there has been the problem of knowing and recognizing ourselves, as well as the problem of knowing the universe. In addition to the metaphysical discipline of philosophy, there has always been a discipline of ethics (ethics). Metaphysics wants to know what exists, what is true, search for their source. Morality, on the other hand, investigates what should be, not what is, and makes good and bad its subject.
It can also be said: In addition to the theoretical philosophy, which wants to know the source and inner face of the universe, there is also practical philosophy, namely morality, which shows the path that man will walk. Practical philosophy explores the meaning of life and what goals we should set for ourselves.
Apart from the concept of “good”, there is also the concept of “beautiful”, which is close to this concept. In addition to what is good and bad, what is beautiful and ugly is also questioned. Thus, “aesthetics”, which takes the “beautiful” as its subject, becomes an independent discipline by being separated from the moral discipline.
In addition to these two main disciplines of philosophy – metaphysics and ethics – there is a third discipline: This is logic. Logic is the science of true knowledge. Every knowledge, including metaphysics and morality, definitely wants to reach the truth, every science is constantly in pursuit of correct knowledge. Here, “What is the truth, how do we get it?” problem arises. Here again, “Is it possible for us to reach the truth?” we ask ourselves the question.
Thinking called philosophy is like a weaving of these main problems that we have been talking about. What kind of connection and relationship exist between these three main problems that make up philosophy? Only a historical observation can explain this question to us. In other words, it is possible to explain the relationship between these three main disciplines of philosophy only by following the course of the history of thought.
Philosophy differs from the independent sciences at one point in particular; With any independent science, it is possible to carry out studies within this discipline, regardless of the historical development of this science. For example, a person dealing with mathematics does not need to know the history of mathematics. Of course, we do not mean by this to say that the history of the independent sciences is superfluous. It is of course useful to research and know the historical development of the independent sciences. But knowing this historical development in philosophy is not only useful, but necessary. Because those who want to deepen in philosophy have to deal with the history of philosophy. Without the history of philosophy, there is no philosophy (See: History of Philosophy).
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Introduction to Sociology” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Other Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM), Lecture Notes of Ernst von Aster.