Tuesday, November 18, 2008



The term “Philosophy” is derived from two Greek words, which literally mean “the love of wisdom”. It was coined by Pythagoras, one of the sages of ancient Greece, born about the year 584 B.C.

In one of his travels through the ancient Greek States he paid a courtesy call on one of the petty kings. The king asked him whether he was a wise man (sophos), and what his occupation was. Pythagoras modestly replied that he was not a wise man, but just a “lover of wisdom”. The sophists were a class of wise men in ancient Greece who professed to be wise. Later on, owing to their argumentations which aimed more at impressing listeners of their learning, rather than at showing the truth, were later dubbed as “sophisms”.

Formerly, Philosophy was considered as a universal science. It is known as “scientia scientiarum” For the ancient Greeks it was the sum – total of human knowledge. Nowadays, philosophy has been narrowed down to mean the discussion and study about the more profound questions concerning men and things that fall outside the scope and discussion of the positive sciences, e.g.,: is man essentially different from material things and animals? What is man in this world for? What is he expected to do? Are physical things the only beings? Is there only matter in things? Is there a universal First cause of visible reality? Hence, philosophy deals with the deeper reasons and explanations of things.


For our present discussion we may define Philosophy as: the science of all things through ultimate causes, gathered by the light of natural reason alone. It differs from other sciences.

a. Philosophy is a science. It is not a set of opinions and theories. It is certain knowledge of things based on evidence and demonstration, and reduced to a comprehensive rational system.

b. Of things. Philosophy discusses about the things that are found in the existential world. Aside from material beings, it also discusses, in its different branches about non – material beings and principle, e.g., about the specific and the existential principles of things; about the soul, the intellect and the free will; about the nature of society, its principles and causes, etc. Hence, Philosophy is said to cover all things in its consideration. It can do so, by viewing things from a higher vantage point, that is:

c. By their ultimate principles and causes. By this qualification, Philosophy is different from the positive and the physical sciences as Biology, Chemistry, etc. these special sciences study the proximate constituent principles and explanations (causes) of their subject matter. Biology studies the nature of the cell, protoplasm, tissues, the activities of anabolism and catabolism. Philosophy studies the nature of the living being as such, of the life and its principle. Chemistry studies the different elements of material substances. Philosophy studies the ultimate principle of the differences of material things. Positive Psychology studies human behavior, its differences and proximate causes. Philosophical psychology studies the ultimate principles of human behavior, reason and will.

d. As known by natural reason alone. Philosophy attains knowledge, not by making use of the principles or articles of faith, but by the use of the principle of natural cognition, which may be obtained from the investigation of nature and the natural study of things. This is what we also mean when, at times, we say that Philosophy uses than “light of natural reason”. We take the expression metaphorically, and in the objective manner, to mean the principles of natural cognition, not in the subjective manner to mean the power of the intellectual faculty of man. LIGHT is that which manifest objects and the Principles of a science manifest the object and the conclusion of the science.