World Philosophy Day – What is it All About?

November 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Isn’t philosophy just for academics?  With World Philosophy Day approaching on the 17th of November we thought we’d broach the subject…

Often thought of as an idle pursuit, philosophy actually involves the gaining of a better understanding of ourselves and our world through the study of fundamental problems associated with existence, knowledge, values, reasoning, the mind and language.  It relies upon critical, systematic approaches to these life issues to create rational arguments for debate and leads to better problem solving, communication and persuasive skills which all result in higher self-knowledge and the ability to understand others and become more tolerant as an individual.

You might be surprised at how often a philosophical question is raised in passing conversation, through a book or even in a television program.  Some classic literary examples include C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ series exploring issues such as race, gender and religion and Ursula LeGuins’ ‘Earthsea Trilogy’ which actually delves into the principles of Taoism. And a few contemporary examples closer to home include the current ABC trend of shows such as ‘The Slap’ and ‘Crownies’.

The following are some examples of philosophical questions:

  • Logic:  What are the foundations and principles of sound reasoning?
  • Science:  What are the foundations of our scientific and technological knowledge?
  • Language:  What does language have to do with human thought?
  • Meaning:  What is meaning and how do we succeed in representing one thing by another?
  • Ethics:  What are the foundations of the judgments of actions or the people who commit them as good or bad?  And in what sense are such judgments true or different from mere matters of taste?
  • Aesthetics:  What makes beautiful things appear beautiful or ugly, and what is the use of having an aesthetical capacity?
  • Self:  Whether there is a self, and if so, what it is and what is its foundation, or, if not, what is the reason for this popular delusion?
  • Free Will:  Whether human beings are in any sense free to act as they please and are responsible for the consequences?  Or only determined to falsely believe they are free to believe as they please?
  • Death:  Whether death indeed is final, what is the point of fearing something one will never experience, and whether there is anything else than self-contradiction in the belief in a life or a judgment after death?
  • Happiness: what is happiness; how does one find it; and why should one look for it, especially if everyone seems naturally to know what feels good and what does not feel good?
  • The Good Life:  What a human individual should and should not do, believe and desire to lead a good life?
  • The Good Society:  What relations between human individuals contribute to the good life?

So, if we’ve piqued your interest, why not come in to the store and check out our great selection of philosophy books and read up on some of the different types of philosophical theories?  You can even take a quiz to see what your philosophical bent is!

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