15 Definitions of Philosophy By Prominent Philosophers

Etymologically philosophy is coined from two Greek words “philos” and ‘sophia’ which is the ‘LOVE OF WISDOM’. Let us look at some philosophical speculations about philosophy

  1. For Edmund Husserl, Philosophy is, an all-encompassing, intellectually justified knowledge of all that is.
  2. For Martin Heidegger, philosophy aims at the first or ultimate grounds of being, particularly of man himself.
  3. For Thomas Aquinas, philosophy proceeds from the natural light of human reason (ex naturali lumen rationis humanae)
  4. For Bertrand Russel, Philosophy concerns itself with the logical analysis of language and the clarification of the meaning of words and concepts.
  5. For William James, Philosophy is a collective name for questions that have not been answered to the satisfaction of that have asked them.
  6. For Aristotle, philosophy consists in the knowledge of the truth, He also sees philosophy as the science which investigates into the ultimate causes of all things in so far as they are knowable by reason.
  7. For Pythagoras, philosophy is that science which employs the power of reason and observation in order to acquire understanding.
  8. For Plato, philosophy is that science which proceeds by criticizing received opinions. Plato makes use of what He calls ‘dialectic’ (that is Criticizing received opinions). For Plato, the first characteristic of philosophical wisdom is that it can face the test of critical discussion.
  9. For Descartes, Philosophy is a method of reflective thinking and reasoned inquiry
  10. Philosophy is a body of natural knowledge methodically acquired and ordered, which undertakes to give the fundamental explanation of all things, justifying itself down to its very own fundamental bases- resting on no postulate or further principle (Louis de Raeymaker)
  11. According to J. Maritain, philosophy is the science which by natural light of reason studies the first causes or highest principles of things, the science of things in their first causes in so far as these belong to the natural order.
  12. Philosophy is a process of reflection on the deepest concepts, that is, the structures of thought that make up the way in which we think about the world.  –Simon Blackburn
  13. Philosophy is the successful love of thinking-John Armstrong
  14. Philosophy is thinking really hard about the most important questions and trying to bring analytic clarity both to the questions and the answers –Marilyn Adams.
  15. Philosophy is a conceptual engineering. That means dealing with questions that are open to informed reasonable disagreement by providing new concepts that can be superseded in the future if more economic solutions can be found, but it’s a matter of rational agreement.-Luciano Floridi.

These are fifteen definitions of philosophy according to prominent philosophers. However, there are many other definitions as there are many other philosophers and scholars.

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