My first encounter with philosophy was Buddhism in 2003. I stumbled upon Buddhism through a book. But, at that time I did not know that philosophy was a field in itself. Recently, for some reason, I have become interested in philosophy. Actually, it was my interest in history which led me to reading “The Story of Philosophy”. And, then I joined the introduction course on philosophy at Coursera.
What is philosophy? According to professor in Coursera - Good philosophy is the activity of working out the right way of thinking about the things that matter most to us. What a wonderful definition! Don’t we face situations in life where we wish we could think through things and take an appropriate decision.The professor also says that philosophy is fundamental -
This is because philosophy involves stepping back and examining the presuppositions of what you’re doing, or the questions you’re asking. What are those presuppositions? Are they the right ones?
In a way, philosophy seems like scientific thinking Can we use philosophy to explore the IPL saga.
In last few weeks the betting scandal has rocked the IPL. Should IPL be banned? Why? Why IPL is so successful? Why people love watching T20? I prefer test match cricket anytime. Why do we watch sports? Should we go back to amateur era? Is any sport clean? Chess, my favorite game, is also facing crisis due to cheating by players using technology. So, is any sport completely clean? In fact, is any institution completely clean? Seems corruption is very much part of human organisations. The severity of corruption varies. To tackle corruption steps are taken. Some steps work, some don’t. So, IPL too has to take steps to clean the mess and carry on.
Philosophers ask various fundamental questions. Philosophy has some specific topics.
1) What is Knowledge? – Epistemology
2) What is morality? Is there a universal moral? – The Definition of Morality
3) Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes utility, specifically defined as maximizing happiness and reducing suffering
4) Most confusing is Metaphysics
5) Absurdism – From wikipedia, “In philosophy, “the Absurd” refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any“. The ‘Myth of Sisyphus’ by Albert Camus is a famous work on absurdism. One can read the notes here – http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/sisyphus/
I end with this quote by Socrates, as mentioned in, ‘The Story of Philosophy’,
Do you then be reasonable and do not mind whether the teachers of philosophy are are good or bad, but think of Philosophy herself. Try to examine her well and truly; and if she be evil, seek to turn away all men from her; but if she be what I believe she is, then follow her and serve her, and be of good cheer.