David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Contemporary Chinese Thought 5 (4):72-109 (1974)
We may have different ways of defining the nature of philosophy. One view would take philosophy to be a system of knowledge just like science; only it is a more comprehensive system that includes all science, or rather, it is a synthetic system of knowledge. Another view would take philosophy to be just a reflective and critical attitude. It purports to reflect on methods, postulates, axioms, and fundamental concepts that science relies on to build its knowledge in order to clarify other scientific concepts and principles and to understand the limit of each science and of scientific knowledge itself so that they will not be wrongly applied to areas where they do not apply. Still another view would take philosophy to be that which helps us to understand the universe and human life, to have wisdom to penetrate into history, culture, and concrete affairs, and to give us direction for our actions. Of these three, the first view takes philosophy to be an activity for pursuing knowledge, the second view takes philosophy to be an activity for understanding our knowledge, and the third view takes philosophy to be an activity that starts with knowledge in order to achieve wisdom, which is above and beyond knowledge. All these views have their justifications. I would like to elaborate on them in the following.
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