Department of Philosophy
What is Philosophy?
The question about the nature and scope of philosophy is itself a philosophical question. And since, in philosophy, no question is held back, and no final resting place is expected, this question freely admits of no easy or obvious answer. Today it is almost impossible to say, in advance, just what philosophy may take up as the subject of its unique process of reflection or how it will deal with these topics.
In this respect, philosophy differs from various old and new disciplines (say, mathematics on the one hand, andpsychology, on the other) that do have well-defined fields of inquiry and the widespread appearance of methodological unification. Although the actual degree of agreement (and disagreement) is usually misrepresented, it is important to note that questions such as “what good is mathematics?” or “why study psychology?” are not mathematical or psychological questions. Instead, they are preeminently philosophical questions. Furthermore, philosophy reserves the right to insist that the very form of the questions under consideration may require further investigation and careful reformulation. So adjudicating the priority, relevance and formation of any question is itself a philosophical activity. Indeed philosophy is also concerned with the appropriateness of the question – both its ‘when’ and its ‘where’ –in the flux of philosophical discussion.