Friday, February 27, 2004

A Philosophical Question


As usual, I'm tired, cranky and sleepy again today, courtesy of an all-nighter Thursday. However, this time it was worth it as I got a crash-course on Philosphy.

It started off with me attending my girlfriend's Thursday atheist group-discussion meeting in U.P. after work yesterday. Due to unforseen circumstances, the discussion was called off and the group retired to the drinking place Sarah's as their wont. Midway between the (I think) 2nd round and third round of beers, a debate arose on the essence of a bottle of beer and whether it was 'natural' or 'man-made' (something to do with reductionism and Darwin's evolution).

Naturally, I tried to follow the arguments and when I figured I could ask questions without looking like a fool, I jumped in. The debate raged back and forth until a temporary respite occurred when one of the guys had to take a piss. It was then I wondered aloud what the hell Philosophy is for.

Courtesy of one of the members-- a former U.P. Philosophy teacher-- he told me (now forgive me if I'm getting my facts wrong here) that Philosophy is the Art of Thinking Critically and cited its prevalent use in life, ranging from political philosophy, economic philosophy, so on and so forth.

He likewise noted that Philosophy is the finding the right question, not the right answer. Because of this, he said, Philosophy is about the process of searching for an answer rather than the answer itself. This isn't results-oriented, he pointed out.

He also told me that argumentation is the proper method used in Philosophy and that intellectual masturbation may not be a bad thing. Lastly, he went into the differences between meaning and practicality and how it relates to Philosophy, whether it all is a "waste of time."

Whew! All in all, a heady state of affairs last night.

Of course, I'm still holding firm that Philosophy isn't of practical use although we do get to use it-- like the air we breathe-- when we think (i.e. think critical). But then again as the group says a lot, Perspektib mo lang yan! ("That's only your perspective!").

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