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The nature of philosophy is being revealed as an
academic discipline. This chapter tends to shed more light
on what philosophy is by examining the various problems
addressed in philosophy. Understanding philosophy
means taking an insight of the activities the practitioners
of the discipline have undertaken since its inception. As a
discipline, philosophy started off in order to give rational
explanations to certain events which were puzzling in
nature. The experience with the way the Milesian
philosophers did philosophy is used to reveal the true
nature of philosophy.
The Milesian philosophers had their main
preoccupation wondering and pondering about the basic
constituent of nature and human existence. Prior to these
set of philosophers, there were many myths about human
existence and this philosophers wanted their views to be
known and so offered radical and natural explanations to
phenomenon to oversee the former explanations which
were mostly supernatural.
Wonder is mostly deduced from the nature of
philosophy. This wonder made philosophers ponder on so
many questions even about God as the creator of all things
and how creation was done. Indeed, Bodunrin (1981:13)
suggests that wonder can never be exhausted in the
human life as there is always something to ponder about
and this has led to philosophers continuously trying to
find more rational explanations about things that are still
uncertain and doubting.
The second thing about philosophy that can be
deduced from the milesian philosophers is that philosophy
also tries to solve various puzzles in various aspects of life.
The moral philosophers take care of the moral philosophy
and the political philosophy which deems well on studying
the best political system for the country and what causes
problems affecting authorities in the political system. A
philosopher believes that man should not dwell on
unreasoned facts as theory has influence on practice and
that a man who argues with reasoned facts is better than a
man who argues on unreasoned facts that is not yet a
Philosophy is important as it is to ultimately provide
a guide to life. Philosophy matters because “it can provide
a guide to life which is capable of making life more
tolerable and less painful” (Oladipo 2008:16).
Philosophical problems are not studied for their own
intrinsic value but have a use and a value which extends it.
Osie submission reiterates Unah’s submission because
Unah states there cannot be a true conception of reality,
that there is always something to wonder about and ask
questions in our life. Reality will continue to unfold. The
point being made is that our initial concept of reality is
often being tainted by stories from our culture, religion,
ideology, or other things that perceive and interpret
reality. It is only what we already know with the aim of
providing what we know with existential challenges that
confront humans.
The concept of philosophy involves disagreements
between the opinions of various philosophers with proves
concerning each ones reason for stated facts. For example,
this was witnessed when Thales put forward his fact with
proves stating that the major constituent of reality is
water and so also did Anaximander argue this view and
stating with prove that the major constituent of reality is
air. The philosophers are believed to be confused people
that never all agree to the same answer to a question or
doubt but prefer producing a better result overlapping the
other view.
Philosophy is not like the sciences that can be
easily proved in laboratories but is an academic discipline
that involves a careful and systematic process to thought
of inquiries and involves reflective thinking and answers
to doubts.
There are two mainly broad categories of
philosophy and they are the cardinal branches-
metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and logic and the
second order disciplines –philosophy of sciences, law
social sciences, education, and philosophy of history
among others. It is followed by a general overview of how
philosophy interrogates other disciplines.
Philosophy as a second order discipline is different
from a first order discipline. A first order discipline mainly
examines a particular subject matter and energy.
Philosophy is concerned with all subject matters as they
aim to criticize and justify the grounds of knowledge
claims made in other disciplines. In the case of Africa other
academic disciplines are critically examined in order to
determine the stability of ideologies generated in other
academic disciplines for Africa.