Opinion

Philosophy is more than a side of french fries

When I tell people I am a philosophy major, I am often met with remarks about employment or other such practical concerns. I’m sure that many of my fellow humanities majors can sympathize.

However, I think this stems from certain misunderstandings that many people have about what philosophy actually is, and what its utility is. So, before I start to write opinion pieces that delve more heavily into philosophical issues, I think it is necessary to explain to you, the reader, why you should care.

Philosophy is one of the oldest human pursuits. It seems that we have been hardwired from our species’ inception to ponder philosophical sorts of questions. However, philosophy first began as a systematic study in Classical Greece with Plato and Aristotle, evolving through the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment, right on up to as it is practiced now in places like the philosophy department right here at the U.

Philosophy, when broken down into its Greek roots, literally translates to “love of wisdom.” In practice, philosophy is the study of certain general and abstract problems. It is has a number of subfields such as metaphysics (the study of the general features of reality), epistemology (the study of knowledge), ethics (the study of what is good and bad), and logic (the study of correct reasoning), among others.

These may seem like overtly esoteric pursuits, but since our attitudes on these subjects form the foundation of all our knowledge, it is important that we at least consider them. And even if you decide that they aren’t important, that in itself is a philosophical position.

Unbeknownst to most people, everyone does philosophy. You are doing philosophy when you make an ethical decision, or go to a religious service, or read a novel, or watch the news, or make an observation about how the world works, or sit down on one of the gliders and begin to think to yourself.

All of these involve tacit philosophical attitudes and assumptions. The aim of doing philosophy is to bring these attitudes to light and examine them to see if they are consistent and if they are true.

In the future, this column will analyze philosophical issues in a colloquial, approachable and relatable manner. It will also work to analyze current events in everything from politics to pop culture in philosophical terms.

Everyone should, on some level, find their “love of wisdom.”

Joshua Myers is a freshman majoring in philosophy and psychology.

January 15, 2014

Reporters

Joshua Myers


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The word “swag” was mentioned multiple times Tuesday at the inaugural Miami Hurricanes spring practi ...

How did Tate Martell’s Phoenix-based attorney, Travis Leach, convince the NCAA to permit Martell to ...

After a quick courtship, Daran Branch is the newest member of the Miami Hurricanes’ Class of 2020. A ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ high-profile quarterback competition just got super spicy. Tate Martell, the 2 ...

Lots of Hurricanes nuggets on the first day of spring practice: ▪ The UM offense officially entered ...

Watch a video about the Annual Senior Showcase involving students in the Theatre Arts Program. ...

Become one in a million. Join the All of Us research program. ...

With Florida lifting the ban on smokable medical marijuana, the nursing school’s Denise Vidot answer ...

Three School of Architecture students recount their first day in Switzerland, and some of the archit ...

In the aftermath of the powerful tornado that devastated a rural Alabama community, a UM storm exper ...

The University of Miami football program announced Tuesday that the National Collegiate Athletic Ass ...

Hear from the Hurricanes as they opened up day one of spring football inside the IPF. ...

The Miami women's basketball team received a No. 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament and will host th ...

Miami rises 13 spots to No. 23 nationally. ...

Going a perfect 5-0 in doubles action, freshmen Franco Aubone and Francisco Bastias collected Miami ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.