What is the ultimate purpose of Philosophy ?

I was wondering if any of you guys could perhaps shed some light in what seems to be a complicated question (at least for some)

Having a nice expresso at lunch time,a friend of mine and me got into this discussion about what would be the reason and purpose for Philosophy.
Without going into details, I inmediately suggested that it’s final purpose was to help Humanity at large to become a less suffering entity.
He rebutted and his response was that philosophers search for truth.
He added that philosophers search for the fundamental questions in life or otherwise and investigate plus justify these answers with the least amount of assumptions.

I ask you now, what do you think ?


I think the ultimate purpose is just to get self satisfaction in satisfying curiosity.

Afterall, anything we come up is severely limited by our imperfect imaginations and imperfect perception and logic which is our only way of working things out which is assumed to apply to every situation, so none of it can never be proved ultimately, it can just seem to fit with what has previously been thought.

Just seems like something to do, but in vain. An attempt to do something we’re grossly incapable of doing properly anyway…

Its fun and satisfying for me, but I recognise it probably doesn’t mean anything.

But hey, we might strike it lucky and get it right some day. If there is such thing as right…

That’s sound very egotistic,and I hope is not true,of course if that’s your belief,I hope you don’t find otherwise when it’s too late. (wink)
To save space and time, which to me is extremely valuable, I recommend you read some ‘serious’ philosophers that might help you with your thoughts, namely and e.i : Bertrand Rusell and ‘Problems with Philosophy’



Ultimacy; rationality demands an end to questions.

Sounds pretty, but that’s it…one can demand anything,Philosophy keeps on coming,questions will always be there since Humanity have that urge to know.

Rene (still)

Reply to still_mind

The purpose of philosophy is to reach agreement about the world we live in. So, in this ultimate aim, the purpose of philosophy is no different than the purpose of science, mathematics, and religion.

How do you figure that after 2 world wars, a jewish people Holacaust ,2 atomic bombs dropped in Japan,massacres and genocides from Sarajevo to Zaire,people are looking for an agreement about the world we live in ?
And how do you figure that religion,of all things are tryng to do anything of that sort ? The very purpose of religion is a pretty sick one,since it does the exact opposite of what you have claimed.

Still_Mind reported that his friend said:

I would say that that is the best definition i have heard here so far. philosophers search for truth. Philo-sophia (Greek for lover of wisdom). Sophia is sapiens in Latin which is the second part of Homo Sapiens (man the wise). I would say that i am a philosopher to the extent that i love truth, and a humanist to the extent that i love man. but the two are not necessarily incompatible.

Ok, fine, beautiful.he definitions of the word Philosophy are pretty well know by now,veryone can have a translator if they still don’t know, or a dictionary for that matter,lol.
Mi point stands on it’s own.I repeat what is the ultimate purpose ?
For example,is Philosophy still a science ? Assume that as a science that it is, must have a posteriori ‘effect’ on the wisdom aquired.
In other words,what do you do after the knowledge ? what do you do with the wisdom that you’ve achieved ?
That’s was I mean by ultimate purpose.

Still (getting really frutrated,lol)

Reply to still_mind

Many philosophical propositions do not achieve agreement, or at least not sufficient agreement to persist. One such was Adolph Hitler’s proposal to eliminate the Jewish race that he outlined in his philosophy Mein Kampf. The proposition achieved some agreement in Europe and the USA before falling into disrepute. It is an example of philosophy as a search for agreement.

I think your friend had a good answer, albeit a not so clear one. It is true, as your friend said, that philosophers search for truth. It is also true that philosophers search for the fundamental questions in life or otherwise, and investigate, and justify their answers as best they can while using Okham’s Razor. There is also a sense in which people view philosophers as complainers, people who are never happy. When they are done ripping their hair out with one problem and finally come to terms with it, they merely move onto the next one to do it all again. Philosophers are always analysing and questioning, which usually leads to finding the paradoxes and unfair treatments or sytematic uses of people and their lives - and they move to think of a better way. You may have noticed that most philosophers are, what I will term, fixers. Each philosopher gives his most sincere attempt at fixing the problems they see present before them.

One of the over-arching themes within all philosophers and philosophies is method. Philosophy is a method, I will go so far as to say that it is an extreme method by which one lives. An extreme that is actually a mean between vices. I say extreme because it is not easy to be a philosopher, many people don’t like philosophers, the way of life we have come to grasps with doesn’t react well to philosophers. Hence, maybe extreme wasn’t the right word, instead it can be interchanged with ‘radical’.

There is another over-arching theme within all philosophers and philosophies in that philosophy acts as a machine gun, grenade, missile launcher, lazer guided bomb dropper, and mine digger to any all ideas, thoughts, and acts. I’ll clarify, philosophers take whatever it is that interests them, whether it be morality, religion, society, economy, business, or what have you - they stand this thing up and proceed to go through their arsenal and throw everything they have against this thing. If the thing is left standing, they grin, drop the arsenal and proceed to accept and hug that which has survived the onslaught. In fact, I would say that 80% of everything I have had to say on this message board has been simply doing this very thing. When someone says something, a view, I take that view and stand it up and then proceed to hurl everything I got against it until I see which one of my weapons it was that got through. Once I find it, I post about this weapon that I witnessed penetrating through this view, and I try then to think of possible ideas as to how we might make it immune to this weapon - or I try to suggest a new theory which is immune to this weapon, and so on. In a sense, philosophy is the evolution of thoughts ensuring that only the fittest survive.

For this reason, philosophy is the last line of defence. Often times there are policies or laws put forth into our society that everyone fails to question and they simply accept it for what it is without even questioning it. Philosophy comes along with all of it’s arsenal and gives a hard time to this policy or law and exposes all its weaknesses. Once people hear or read about philosophies discoveries of these weaknesses these people begin to open their eyes and they too sometimes move to do something about it. This is why some people say that philosophy doesn’t give answers, it only dusts away the sand from the path to the answer, it brings about questions. One of my professors favorite definitions of philosophy is “What is X” - I like another version better “Who/What/When/Where/Why/How is X”

I hope this helped.

Gadfly, thank you for your kind reply, I will answer a soon as I can succesfully read it.
For the time being,I 'd like to know why you include those questions in a philosophical realm.
I’ll dance with Why and How, but Who and Where don;t strike me as a serious possibility of great philosophical interest.


still_mind stated:

To me, any kind of question is a philosophical question as long as it is truth that the question is after. I think it may be more important to ask you, what strikes you as a serious possibility of great philosophical interest? Put negatively, what isn’t of philosophical interest? It seems you are more interested in hearing what you think philosophy is greatly interested in…so you must tell me what it is that you think philosophy is greatly interested in before I can answer you. In my opinion, there are no guidelines. Yes there are some major themes in our generation that philosophy is tied up in, but that doesn’t mean that if someone is interested in something that main stream philosophy isn’t focusing on that their interest is somehow not philosophy or something.

What’s your take?

I don’t like to differentiate religion from the study of philosophy, and as a result, I study texts, both new and ancient, in order to understand my world. I create and sometimes break my own rules for life by formulating models of the world, along with its inhabitants, and constantly adapting it.

— I would like to state several things. Bertrand Russell said something like, “Philosophy doesn’t give answers, it just teaches us to ask better questions.” That para-doxa (against opinion) seems to fit in well with Gadfly of ILP’s (the poster formerly known as Magius) post (in fact he mentions that very thing). Someone said (it may have been Russell again) that philosophy seems to accomplish so little because it spins it’s discoveries off to other sciences. In yet another introductory book i have read the author talks about the very general nature of philosophy and about the basic questions which it asks (this can be very refreshing in a World of specialization). The telos (purpose, end) of philosophy? i do not waver from my original thesis, it is truth; after it is acted upon, it generally ceases to be philosophy.

Everything that is important is of serious interest to Philosophy.You won’t have me going tete a tete on the obvious.What I meant is that there are some questions that require urgent answers and some others that will be answered in their right time, perhaps by default.
To me, in most cases I’d be satisfied with What, Why and How,and with those alone I’ll be busy for a lifetime.


ok, but what does that have to do with the subject about the Ultimate purpose of Philosophy ? (that means after all is searched and questioned, what do you do with it )


The purpose of philosophy is to determine the correct perception of reality (which is absolute, and exists independent of perception) by finding which perception is free of contradictions and other logical flaws.

And you wrote that all by yourself ?..


Reply to Kurt Weber

There is no absolutely correct perception of reality. We do our best to perceive reality correctly, but beyond that there is only the agreement of others.