The Basics


How is philosophy different from other intellectual pursuits?

Generally, the kind of wisdom philosophers love consists of answers to questions, which have to be worked out in the mind instead of discovered through microscopes, telescopes, surveys, or measurement. For example, a sociologist will study what people believe, but a philosopher will ask if those beliefs are true or justified by what is true.

Because philosophical questions cannot be answered with facts, their answers are largely a matter of opinion. But the opinions are special, because reasons are always given for them. Still—and this is what some people find so enjoyable about philosophy—much of philosophical activity is a conversation or dialogue between and among philosophers. And they almost never agree!


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