The Nature and Function of Philosophy in Education – Explained!
From the above we may conclude that philosophy is a “search for a comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at universal explanation of the nature of things.” The word philosophy means “the love of wisdom.” Wisdom is not only knowledge.
One may have knowledge, but he may not be wise. Wisdom constitutes knowledge plus its implications in all circumstances. Thus philosophy gives man that wisdom with the help of which he understands the whole universe and the implications of the same in reason to himself and all the people around.
It must be noted that philosophy is not anyone’s belief or point of view concerning purposes or values. On the other hand, “philosophy is a rigorous, disciplined, guarded analysis of some of the most difficult problems which man has ever faced not just anyone’s point of view.
Philosophers are men of great intelligence and remarkable insight, who have been able to see the significance of the discrete events in human experience and, to use Plato’s term, take a synoptic view of them.” Philosophers have been mainly interested in finding answers to the following questions:
Why has man come on this earth? What is his main purpose in life? What is right and wrong for man? Why are a particular thing right and another wrong for him? How should man conduct his life in order to make it most worthwhile and satisfying?
Is there any intelligent purpose behind this world and its phenomena? Is there any life for man after his death? If so, what is its nature? What kind of world is this? Is there any one substance at the basis of all materials on this earth? Or, are there two or more substances?
What is the nature of the substance or substances? What is the meaning of ‘to be’? Can man’s mind answer these and similar other questions? How does man get the knowledge that he has? What is the validity of this so-called knowledge?
The above questions have baffled even the most eminent philosophers from time immemorial, and a philosopher of Dewey’s stature thinks that it is foolish to try to find the answers to most of these questions. So he advises philosophers to devote their attention solving social problems. Bertrand Russel’s opinion, too, on this point is noteworthy.
He says: “Philosophy is to be studied not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions … but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible… but above all because … the mind also is rendered great and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.”
Needless to say, philosophers differ in their answers to the above- quoted questions, and there is no one philosophy which all of us may follow. However, this does not imply that we cannot derive any knowledge from theosophy. It is possible to be certain about many important questions, whereas about some we cannot be so certain.