The Value of Philosophy
Philosophy is derived from “philo and Sophia” (greek) and can be defined as the love of knowledge. In his book, the problems of philosophy, on the value of philosophy, Russell gives the implication that the men that see material needs as necessary for life are named wrongly by the society that is being named as the practical men. He states that the life that has meaning to the practical man is not inclusive of the knowledge understanding. According to Russell, the value of philosophy can only be found as one of the goods of the mind and when a person ignores the difference between ideas and things.
Russell argues that philosophy is studied to understand and define questions since the questions enhance man’s conception of the possibilities but not to seek for possible definite answers to the questions since definite answers can not be known to be true.
The study of philosophy seeks to recognize the truth, to enhance imaginations that are intellectual, to understand the world better and to end the theoretical certainties that do not give an open mind towards speculations. According to Russell, humans should be open minded and have a critical and creative approach to thinking. However, man fails by thinking that he has a life by being concerned of his private interests. Philosophy states that one’s knowledge should be of the not-self concerns and this comes when a person tries to have his world fit in the universe but not the universe fit into his world.
According to Russell, philosophy is aimed at the provision of knowledge that provides unity and system to the sciences. This knowledge comes as a result critically examining the ground of people’s prejudices, convictions and beliefs. However, philosophy doesn’t provide answers to questions that are of a particular interest. Its interest is in the issues that are almost not or not explanatory at all. Philosophy’s is rather uncertain but not real. The value of philosophy is uncertainty. Philosophy makes people to be free in their thinking. Through philosophical thinking, man realizes that even the obvious occurrences in their daily life can result to problems that can not be answered completely. Though philosophy does not give with certainty the answers to questions, it gives possibilities that enhance people’s thinking.
Through the enlargement of people’s thinking and interests, they are able to accommodate the outside world. Unless they accommodate the outside world, people will live a life that is not peaceful and that in which they constantly struggle between desire and will. Russell argues that to escape from this struggle, people should have a philosophic contemplation. Through contemplating philosophically, one views all things impartially for example, does not divide good and bad, friends and enemies. To achieve this, one does not directly seek the enlargement but rather have the desire for knowledge. The value of philosophy is that the entire world is a property of the mind and that there is nothing that is known that is not created by the mind.
The argument that philosophy is uncertain arouses the curiosity of whether the subject is worthy making arguments for or against. If there are no definite answers, then there is the freedom for the search of the unfound answers. It is a good believe that humans should never at any time make assumptions that they have found the complete truth on any matter. The attempt to step over the distinction between ideas and things will make the end positive.
Russell, B. (1998). The problems of philosophy A. Chrucky, (Ed.). UK: OxfordUniversity Press.