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The Methods

of Philosophy
Do you believe that everyone has the capacity
to philosophize?
The first philosophers engaged in philosophy
because of their curiosity and desire to
understand the world. But while wondering or
curiosity opens you to the activities of
reflection and contemplation which you must
learn to increase your understanding of
What is methodology of
Philosophical method is the study of how to
do philosophy. A common view among
philosophers is that philosophy is
distinguished by the ways that philosophers
follow in addressing philosophical questions.
There is not just one method that
philosophers use to answer philosophical
Philosophy as Speculation/Speculative
● Speculation is derived from the Latin word specula
which means “watch tower.” It implies a vision above that
of an ordinary person
● Speculation is sometimes considered as detached
because it is an activity best done alone and in isolation.
It is often a result of contemplation which you can do on
your own.
● Thus, speculation as a mode of philosophical inquiry will
help you explore and take in a variety of perspectives
about human person through personal contemplation
while at the same time having an experience of the world.
Philosophy as Critical Thinking/Analysis
● To criticize means to “judge” and/or to “analyze.” Philosophy, as
critical thinking or analysis, questions, judges, and evaluates any
and all principles and premises that may be gained through
● Philosophizing has to involve both the speculative and
the critical aspects of looking at things since philosophy
is directed toward a holistic perspective and a broader
view of explaining the world. Through speculation,
insights begin and are formed.
● Insights become clearer if they are subjected to critical
analysis or evaluation.
Philosophy as Reflective Inquiry
● John Dewey, in the book How We Think, characterized
reflective thinking as “a kind of thought where the
grounds for the belief is deliberately sought and the
adequacy to support the belief examined.”
● This kind of reflection is seen as a “meaning-making”
process that moves a learner from one experience into
the next with a deeper understanding of its relationship
with connections to other experiences and ideas.
● The method of reflective inquiry is not far from
speculation which involves being part of or experiencing
the world.
● An educative experience is one that broadens the field
of experience and knowledge, brings awareness to bear
and leads in a constructive direction toward intelligent

Reflective inquiry has six phases;

1. The experience
2. Spontaneous interpretation of the experience
3. Naming the problems or questions which arise
4. Generating possible explanations
5. Ramifying the explanations into full blown hypotheses
6. Experimenting the hypotheses
● Creativity and rationality are also used as
● Reflection is also described as a set of
attitudes. John Dewey believes that
awareness of one’s attitudes and
emotions, and the discipline to harness
them and use them to an advantage is
part of the work of a good thinker.