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Philosophy as a Dynamic Human Endeavor

Philosophy as a Dynamic Human Endeavor

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Published by Glenn Rey Anino

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Published by: Glenn Rey Anino on Oct 21, 2010
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This work aims to give hope to readers so that they may understand my point, and to aid somephilosophical reflection into our present context of philosophizing. My problem now is how to prove thegrain of truth found in the discontent of man in philosophizing and the process of rethinking as afoundation of philosophy. How to evaluate philosophical achievements, changes, and progress throughthe discontent and embarrassment of man? But before I begin to discuss the topic, I have to pause for abreath of enlightenment.Philosophy, as an exemplar of a chief discipline, is a dynamic human endeavor. It continues to grow astime moves on and yet philosophers freely accept other philosophies and integrate them as a part of him. Great philosophies up to this day are the products of a long history, for the present philosophershave more of the past to reflect upon and follow more philosophies to be transformed. Also, the standof philosophy in the future will be different from today because future philosophers will have more of the past philosophies to think about. Whatever great philosophical achievement today is derivativefrom the past. No matter how good is our philosophy today, there will be a discontent arises and anembarrassment occurred. The future is an open field of new philosophies to surpass the philosophytoday. Great philosophical achievement today will be surpassed in the next year to come. Thus, anypostmodern philosophers cannot make a criticism, cannot borrow some selected ideas, and cannotreject the ideas that had no existence in the modern period of philosophy.For instance, Abulad, a Filipino Kantian scholar, will not be able to have such scholarship if thephilosopher whom he is going to study did not live before him. Also, it is impossible to call him Kantianwithout having any Kantian thoughts. This reflection gives way to my philosophical inquiry. Followingthis example, I have the certainty with a credible basis to prove that philosophy is a dynamic process of human endeavor.One point of justifying this proposition is to evaluate it through language and literature. The activepotency of ideas to change or the continuing evolution of ideas, as I shall coin the term, will be madepossible. In what way would this event take effect? Many of the present thinkers, scholars, andphilosophers forget the truth that there is no pure philosophy as it continually changes and grow. Thepublication of some literatures that have a strong philosophical bent and the use of language are themediums of this change and growth.No philosophy is completely pure, nor is there any that is totally independent that it is not influenced,if not brought about, by other philosophies. Every great philosophy always carries footnotes that speakof past philosophies. Alfred North Whitehead said: “European philosophical traditions… consist of a
series of footnotes to Plato.”
What we know of philosophy in this day was indebted from the past. Theearly Greek thinkers had been influenced by their neighboring civilizations like Babylonia, Egypt, andsome parts of Eastern society, and deciphered them according to their own intelligible culture.The aggressiveness of these early thinkers, especially in the search to have an explanation to what wasthe basic stuff,
, that constituted the world made them great today. They enjoyed therefutation of considering them as the early natural scientists of Western culture not because of theconclusion they reached and formulated but because of their initiative pioneering method of philosophizing that inspired the latter scientists to break the chains that bound them. The flourishingGreek culture shaped the highest peak of the great triune philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.The act of philosophizing gave more focus on the idealistic view, most especially that of Plato and witha dualistic aesthetic and epistemology by which there is an object-subject dichotomy. The object isbeing differentiated from the subject as a knower. Plato himself had been influenced by Parmenides inhis metaphysics of unchangeable world. Plato also borrowed from Socrates’ idea and baptized it in thecontext within itself.We can also notice, however, that there is a considerable rejection and transformation of point of view. Socrates, a student of the Sophist, disregarded its teaching of relativistic morality of “might isright”. Aristotle himself a brilliant student of Plato, endeavored a departure from his teacher’s tenetson idealism by forwarding more practical philosophies.Moreover, at the time of Greece’ diminishing political power due to invasion and war, the Greeks’ viewof philosophy changed. History gave birth to the emergence of Epicureanism, Stoicism, Skepticism, andneo-Platonism, fresh philosophies that would ignite human thought, and the focus of such undertakingswas more on the practical side. Therefore, such way of philosophizing restricted with the presentcontext of the time yet advancing them to a more vivid enigma. No one would dare to talk aboutPlato’s theory of Form when they saw themselves devoid of a social order and facing some wars.Epicureanism borrowed its tenets from the materialistic-atomistic theory of Democritus, suggestingthat the existence of the world was a result of the collision of infinite, indestructible atoms. Thebigger the atoms formed during collision would account for the formation of bigger bodies in theuniverse. This implies that the world, including man and God, is the product of accidental collision of atoms. This realization helped man to have an intellectual peace and the absence from the fear of afterlife and punishment. However, Epicurus and his followers did not only borrow this without anyalteration from their individual ideas. There was a specification, and the evidence was that Epicurus,despite his materialistic point of view, employed a moralistic principle of happiness based on pleasure.

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