What is philosophy?
When people talk about philosophy as if it's some kind of academic discipline that you have to "study" and that you can't be expected to engage in if you're not "educated", they demonstrate a complete lack of understanding or appreciation of what philosophy is.
- Philosophy is the field of belief about how consciousness works. (This definition does encompass metaphysics and ethics.)
How it encompasses metaphysics
How it encompasses ethics
- Science is the field of belief about how the universe works.
- Math is the field of belief about things that are necessarily true, but don't directly concern consciousness.
Philosophy has two charactistics following from being about consciousness: it's accessible to everyone, and it's important for everyone.
It's accessible to everyone because everyone has direct experience with the object of study, and after a few years of such, there isn't really anything about consciousness that you need more experience to understand.
It's important for everyone because it encompasses what good and evil are, how humans work and thus how to interact with them, how thought works and thus how to use it more effectively, et cetera. Obviously those things are important for everyone.
Anatomy of a soul
The treatment of philosophy as an academic discipline is a very destructive attitude, because it leads to a culture of most people not thinking about these topics and just rolling with the awful ideas they were fed as kids.
Another harmful consequence is the omnipresent idea that something other than philosophy can trump it. This crops up whenever someone responds to my a priori arguments about the nature of consciousness with "But it's been scientifically proven!" It doesn't *matter* what other evidence you have; if there's a logical contradiction in a belief or if it goes against the directly experienced nature of the human mind then you *know* it's false, period. You might as well say it's been scientifically proven that there's a number that doesn't equal itself, or that humans really only have two emotions and there's no difference between sorrow and anger.
The definition of a philosopher is someone who doesn't think of philosophy this way; someone who cares to seek understanding of what is universal and universally important.
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