By Celina Simmons
On Wednesday, Sept. 12, I took part in the Philosophy Club meeting. To start the semester off, we began with discussing the meaning of philosophy. As usual in philosophical discussions, the conversation went in many directions. Leah Parrish kicked things off with an oral presentation on the technical definition of philosophy.
Leah explained how, by definition, philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge and reality in existence. She stated how there are five main branches, namely metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics.
Metaphysics is considered the study of existence, epistemology is the study of truth and knowledge, and ethics is the study of morality, or what one should do based on cause and effect. Furthermore, political philosophy analyzes what is acceptable and what is right in social arrangements, and aesthetic philosophy discusses the meaning of art and the study of beauty.
We recognized the fact that because philosophy has changed throughout history, there are no clear boundaries defining it. We do know that one cannot use mathematics or scientific experiments to answer philosophical questions. One member brought up the idea that the only true way to define something is by what it is not. For example, we know that a book is a book because of the fact that it is not a football or a cat.
Another note on philosophy that we all agreed on was the fact that it can deal with discussing what we can’t know. This led us into epistemology and the idea of whether we can trust our own senses or not. Someone pointed out how we could not know of something’s existence because our human senses are not enough to perceive it. In another sense (no pun intended), we wouldn’t be able to know if our senses were telling us the truth, or if the world as we perceive it is how it is.
One instance where all of our senses would be failing us, is the “Matrix” theory. This theory suggests that everyone is living in a computer-generated world, basically a virtual reality. If this was discovered and proved to be true, we would know some answers to the questions we are always asking. But such discovery may result in more questions, such as why something would put us in this world or what the true reality is like outside of this “matrix.”
As a result, you can see that someone can not know the meaning of philosophy until they engage in the discussion. Are you ready to engage in the discussion? Join the club! The Philosophy Club meets every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Howe Hall Seminar Room!
Categories: Campus News