Philosophy: its descent from loving wisdom to studying problems

The fifth footnote to the Wikipedia article on “Philosophy” cites an introductory textbook as follows:

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Philosophy is a study of problems which are ultimate, abstract and very general. These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose.[1]

What is the relationship between the study of problems and the love of wisdom? Has the former been finally detached from the latter, assuming the one arose out of the practice of the other?

If the progressive, historical untethering of the study from the love is a fact, is it worthwhile to evaluate it, or need we only adjust to it? May we ask about it critically or would it be unfruitful, even unwise (in the sense of imprudent, impractical, or pointless) to do so?  Did not Pythagoras, who coined the term, intend for the love to guide the study? Did he not assume that the study flowed out of and expressed the love?

Since the very beginning of the discourse called “philosophical,” its practitioners have held one conceit, namely, that reason is autonomous and therefore can identify, study, and perhaps solve general and fundamental problems.

Image result for rescher the strife of systemsEven if self-identifying “philosophers” disagree about proffered solutions, they would all agree (if asked) that such diversity, what Nicholas Rescher called the “strife of systems,” can in no way discredit the conceit. I say “would,” for taking that conceit for granted is so ingrained that it takes considerable research to find its self-conscious articulation and defense.

Consequently there’s rarely been an occasion for philosophical rivals to express such solidarity. They hold that conceit implicitly, but absolutely. For them it is non-negotiable—ethically, metaphysically, and epistemologically—and, as such, invulnerable to discrediting.

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