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Introduction to Philosophy


Renáta Kišoňová

The first part of this textbook introduces philosophy to the reader as a part of culture, in addition to science, religion, art. It outlines various disciplines of philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of mind etc. The second part maps the understanding of history, or the philosophical reflection of history in the history of philosophy.


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1. What is Philosophy?


  “The question ‘what is philosophy?’ can perhaps be posed only late in life, with the arrival of old age and the time for speaking concretely. In fact, the bibliography on the nature of philosophy is very limited. It is a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask”. Deleuze, Guattari: What is Philosophy?   I  recently visited several Slovak grammar schools and discussed a  number of matters with secondary school pupils, including philosophy. In response to my sim- ple question ‘what is philosophy?’ however, I received no particular answer. Maybe it is the fact that students were ashamed. Maybe they have weak fundamentals of civic studies, or are poorly motivated by teachers. Or, as I think is most likely, responding briefl y to the question ‘what is philosophy?’ is a daunting challenge for second- ary school students. Jaspers argues that the question ‘what is philosophy?’ is a  matter of dispute. (see: Jaspers K.: Úvod do fi lozo- fi e, 1996 p. 9). According to Czech philosopher Jaroslav Peregrin, there are several diff erent approaches to phi- losophy in society. Some people harbour an extreme 10 reverence for philosophy, almost awe, and believe that philosophy represents something spectacular. For them it is something where we can fi nd answers to the ques- tions: why are things the way they are? And, what is the meaning of everything? (see: Peregrin, J.: Filosofi e pro normálni lidi, 2008, p. 11 – 17). Some...

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