Studying philosophy (Reading philosophy books) as a non-philosophy scholar is a daunting task. What is the reward for it? It is just an intellectual challenge or a complicated puzzle game for past times. What does philosophy do to me?
This is my personal view of what philosophy is. In general, philosophy is regarded as a “critical reflection of life.” I agree with the concept of this idea, but it lacks specificity. From my point of view, philosophy is to think about the world we live in and establish the wisdom of how to live in it. (I call it “Philosophizing.”)
Philosophy is a way of understanding/making the meaning of life. Life is not a mere sum of experiences. We take our experiences and weave them into a meaningful whole.
- What is the world we live in? (Metaphysics)
- What is the nature of knowledge? What are the methods of understanding and their limitations? (Epistemology)
- What is good and bad or right and wrong? (Morals and Ethics)
- How can I live in this world? (Wisdom)
The purpose of philosophizing is to find the wisdom of life. We might get the pre-made way of life from religions, ideologies, or even the works and lives before us. The main point of the philosophizing is that I do not want to get wisdom from outside without digesting it by myself. Philosophy provides the tools, but religions do not. Religions and ideologies make you a passive receptor.
Well-known philosophers already went through the process of philosophizing, and their works provide me with the valuable ideas of what might work for me or not. It is my job to figure out my wisdom through philosophizing.