Would you like to make this site your homepage? It's fast and easy...
Yes, Please make this my home page!
If you would like to send in your
comments or to contribute your material to these pages, please send your
mail to: Alex Bunard. I will
try and post your contribution within seven days from the time I receive
Philosophy is the most grandiose intellectual
game that we humans have been playing for more than five thousand years.
It is the ultimate achievement of rational thinking. To answer the question:
"why must we turn our capability to think rationally into a game?" we should
point to the fact that it is only through this, and similar games (see
Science) that we can overcome
the self-centered limitations that are inherent in common-sense thinking.
Now, the ability to think common-sense
thoughts also displays the propensity for rational thinking. However, this
common-sense thinking, based on our Ratio, does not utilize that
same Ratio to the fullest. Thus, it's a shame to stop short and
not allow the full potential of rational thinking to flourish.
The body of philosophic thinking is not
monolithic -- there are many different, even opposing approaches to this
discipline. In general, we can divide the entire body of philosophical
research into these three broad categories: ontology, epistemology,
The simplest way to illustrate what an
ontology is could be by stating its fundamental questions: "What is a man?
Or, what is any other thing?" These questions focus on the essence
of any observed phenomenon.
Likewise, the fundamental questions posed
by epistemology are: "Who is it that asks 'What is this or that'? Or, can
we know the knower?" These questions focus on the source of knowledge.
The fundamental question of esthetic inquiry
would be: "What makes this thing beautiful?"
Limitations Of Philosophy
Like any other discipline of thinking,
philosophy is limited by the assumptions that underlie its functioning.
Typically, as is the case with any form of reasoning, philosophic reasoning
is based on logic. It is ultimately the limitation of the underlying
logic that will determine the limitations of the particular branch of philosophy.
In most cases (or at least in most traditional
schools of philosophy), the underlying logic that permeates the mode of
philosophic reasoning is founded on the ultimate postulate known as Tertium
Non Datur. This is Latin for "the law of excluded third" (or, "excluded
middle"). What does this postulate mean?
Simply put, this postulate (or, law of
thinking) governs the patterns of our reasoning. It states that when reaching
a conclusion about certain phenomenon, we cannot include the middle option.
For example, upon entering a room, we can either conclude that the window
in the room is open, or that it is closed. We cannot legitimately conclude
that the state of the window in that room is something else (like, "barely
open", or "kind of closed", "not really open, but at the same time not
quite closed", etc.) To indulge in such reasoning would be to slip from
the clarity of philosophical analysis into the muddled thinking of everyday
mundane common-sense reasoning.
So, this basic framework exposes quite
a severe limitation of philosophy in general (actually, technically speaking,
this is the limitation of the underlying logic, but it directly influences
the reach of the philosophical system that's been built on top of it).
In a similar manner, science
(which is built on top of a philosophical system of some kind), exhibits
even more rigorous set of constraints; in other words, the reach of any
scientific theory is much narrower than the reach of a philosophical system.
But the set of constraints is necessary,
as in any other game, in order to enable the players to meaningfully participate.
Sorry, the remaining
material for this page is still under construction
All original material in these
web pages copyright © Alex Bunard.