Introspection and Action. Part 1

When asked about the nature and purpose of Philosophy, philosophers often feel embarrassed to have to offer a univocal reply, so multifarious and contrasted are the definitions and uses of their field of enquiry. All the definitions, schools and polemics which have accumulated from the period of the pre-Socratics to the present day, revolve around the inherent dual identity of Philosophy, namely, introspection and action. Classical Philosophy is primarily concerned with what Michel Foucault called ‘the care of the self’, that ...

Identifying, Analysing, Evaluating

The May 2014 Subject Report on Paper 1 emphasises the need for candidates to strike the right balance between identifying philosophical issues derived from the stimulus and developing cogent arguments taken from the candidate’s critical study and just as importantly, from his own personal reaction to the issue under review. We are talking, here, about three distinct stages in the approach to this paper, namely, identifying, analysing and finally, evaluating the material. Notice that the term ‘evaluate’ often appears in ...

Philosophy in Solitude

Should philosophy be a solitary or social exercise? Is solitude essential to reach the inner parts of the self and the spiritual core of the soul? Historically, Philosophy has been the handmaid of Theology up to the dawn of Humanism in the sixteenth-century. Augustine wrote his Confessions in solitude after his conversion to Christianity in a Milanese garden. All great mystics before him had renounced the false trappings of the mundane world and found spiritual comfort in the apparent desolation ...