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Introduction to Philosophy

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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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2. Philosophy as a Term

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Let us start with an analysis of the term philosophy. Heidegger claims that if we do not use the term philosophy and instead listen attentively to the original sound, we will hear the Greek word filosofia. (see: Heidegger, M.: Co je to- filosofie?, p. 117)

“The word filosofia tells us that philosophy is something that determines the existence of the Greeks. And not only this – filosofia determines also the innermost basic feature of the history of Western Europe.” (Heidegger, M.: Co je tofilosofie?, p. 117)

The term philosophy originates in Greek and consists of the words filein and sofos. The word filein translates to sisterly love or friendship, whilst sofia means skilfulness, agility, knowledge, cognition, wisdom, and the art of living. Philosophy could be love of knowledge or even more precisely love of cognition since philosophy ← 19 | 20 → does not represent anything complete or permanently fixed, but rather a process of asking questions and seeking answers.

Jaspers analyses the term filosof as the opposite of the term sofos. Filosofos means ‘one who loves knowledge’ whereas sofos is one who has knowledge readily available (or believes that he does) and is called the cognizing one. (see: Jaspers, K.: Úvod do filozofie, 1996, p. 12) In Jaspers’ opinion “this meaning of the word still endures: the essence of philosophy is not the possession of truth but the search for truth, regardless of how many philosophers may belie it with their dogmatism, that is, with...

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