It is a no-brainer that explaining philosophy to someone who doesn’t know is not an easy take

 

therefore, in this paper, I will be highlighting methods to explain this area of study, the primary

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 areas of philosophy as well as the kind of questions covered in those areas.

 

 

        First and foremost, the method that I will be applying to explain philosophy is through the

 

story of an engineer, mathematician, and philosopher who are traveling on a train to Scotland

 

together. So, the story begins with these three men taking a train to Scotland as their final

 

destination. A couple of minutes after the train had crossed the Scottish borders, the three of

 

them immediately notice five brown cows standing on a green field. The engineer then states

 

“So, now we are all well aware that Scottish cows are brown”, however, the mathematician

 

immediately disagrees and says “No, now we know that there are at least five brown cows in

 

Scotland”. The philosopher looks at both and them and says “You’re both wrong, the only thing

 

we, as humans know, is that there are five cows in Scotland that are brown on one side, the side

 

that we saw”. Astonished, the mathematician and engineer are out of words to say to the

 

philosopher. This explains philosophy. The most essential thing in philosophy is not taking

 

anything for granted and thinking of things in a way that is out of the box, taking everything into

 

consideration and most importantly, not being ignorant of different possibilities. That is what I

 

would call an extremely rational investigation on a subject that is beyond the reach of science.

 

The reason why I would use this method to explain philosophy to someone who doesn’t know is

 

due to the ability to relate. The person on the other end can understand this complex subject in a

 

way that is more relaxed and easier to digest. Through this story, I didn’t have to use any

 

definition or terminology to explain this area of study. Instead, I gave an example which would

 

unveil the difference in the thinking of a philosopher and other people at question.

 

 

           Secondly, I would try and seek answers to questions that most philosophers spent almost

 

their entire life thinking about. If a person comes up to me and asks me to explain what

 

philosophy is in words, I would instead turn the questions towards them. I would begin by asking

 

them whether they believe God exists, the meaning of life, what is the best form of government,

 

why do innocent people suffer and so on. It is highly likely that the person will have the answer

 

to all my questions since we all as human beings have opinions and are entitled to it. For

 

instance, when asked whether God exists or not, a religious person would not be hesitant and

 

would answer yes to my question right away however, on the contrary, an atheist person might

 

disagree with the fact that God exists. Now, there is no right and wrong answer to this question,

 

both of these people will have their own valid arguments as to why they gave such an answer.

 

Similarly, during this question and answer session (Socrates’ dialectic method), I would explain

 

to them that philosophy is based entirely on the code of values and beliefs by which a person

 

lives (Soccio, 2016). You do not need to be a philosopher to ask philosophical questions. This

 

would explain what philosophy means, “the love of wisdom”. Anyone who wants to gain

 

wisdom can engage in philosophical questions, ask themselves the meaning of different things

 

and why they exist or why things happen (Why do people suffer, does might make right).

 

 

           Moving on the primary areas of philosophy which include metaphysics, epistemology,

 

ethics, social and political philosophy. There are a lot more areas however, I will be putting a

 

spotlight on these 4 areas only.  

 

 

            Firstly, metaphysics is the study of what is sometimes termed as the “ultimate reality”.

 

This area of study will put emphasis on questions about reality that go beyond the sense

 

experience and of course ordinary science. Questions in this area involve the mind-body

 

relationship, the existence of supernatural things, free will, personal immorality, and the

 

nature of being (Soccio, 2016). Examples of metaphysical questions include “Can there be things

 

that exist that are not in time?”, “Can there be necessarily existent entities”, “Must anything

 

that exists have intrinsic properties?”, “Is space real or merely just an illusion”? and, “Does

 

the physical universe depends upon the existence of an immaterial creator?”. All in all,

 

metaphysics can be described as an area of philosophy that explores fundamental questions,

 

that include concepts of being, existence as well as reality.

 

 

        Secondly, epistemology is an area of philosophy that asks questions about knowledge, its

 

nature and origins and the answer to whether or not it is even possible (Soccio, 2016). Questions

 

in this branch of philosophy include sources of knowledge, the standards of evidence, truth,

 

belief and the gradation of knowledge, memory and perception. Epistemological questions would

 

include “Is it possible to have knowledge at all?”, “Does our knowledge represent reality as it

 

really is?” and “Does reason provide us with knowledge of the world?”. Therefore, this branch

 

of philosophy highlights the theory of knowledge (logical discourse).

 

 

        Thirdly, ethics is the study of moral problems, practical reasoning, virtues and vices, good

 

and bad, right and wrong, character, moral duty, issues that are related to nature, origins, and

 

scope of moral values (Soccio, 2016). According to the book, it is also not uncommon to see

 

ethicists specialize in different areas namely medical ethics, business ethics, environmental

 

ethics, academic ethics, issues regarding ethnicity, and gender and the nature of a good life.

 

Questions relating to this branch include “is it considered stealing if I take pens from a bank or

 

if I get extra napkins from a restaurant?”, “Is it unfair to move into better seats at a sport

event?”, “Is it okay for me to fantasize about someone else when I am with my spouse?”.

 

Ethnical issues also involve things like relativism and universality.

 

 

      Lastly, social and political philosophy are concerned with the nature and origins of

 

the state, the exercise of power, sovereignty the effect social institutions have on individuals,

 

ethnicity, gender, social status and the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of

 

 societies. Examples of social and political questions include “Should there be a government?”,

 

“What kind of government should we have?”, “What should the social world be like?”. All in all,

 

social and political philosophy puts a spotlight on social philosophy studies questions regarding

 

social behavior and political philosophy puts emphasis on topics such as liberty, politics, justice,

 

property, law and rights.

 

 

               To conclude, I would explain philosophy to someone who doesn’t know by sharing the

 

story of the 3 men travelling to Scotland as well as engaging in question and answers to make

 

them better understand what this field of study is all about. Also, the primary areas of philosophy

 

include Metaphysics (questions regarding reality), Epistemology (questions regarding

 

knowledge), Ethics (Questions in regard to moral problems and practical reasoning) as well as

 

Social and Political philosophy (questions regarding the nature and origins of the state, exercise

 

of power etc.).