It is worth noting that before I undertook the endeavour of being the Devil and accepting philosophy as a discipline, I had little to no respect for it. Still, here we are, reading a brief shout-out to philosophy by me.
The mere mention of it aroused disdain in me. Especially for those who saw it as a viable method for understanding anything at all.
This attitude had more to do with semantics and the context in which the word is used.
You see, my view of philosophy was contaminated by the misuse (or popular equivocation) of the term. But, like many other powerful and influential words in our lexicon, this one is polysemous.
This is all due to my own ignorance, of course. I can report that I am now a bit more immune to such logical fallacies and canards.
Polysemy (/pəˈlɪsᵻmi/ or /ˈpɒlᵻsiːmi/; from Greek: πολυ-, poly-, “many” and σῆμα, sêma, “sign”) is the capacity for a sign (such as a word, phrase, or symbol) to have multiple meanings (that is, multiple semes or sememes and thus multiple senses), usually related by contiguity of meaning within a semantic field.
In its everyday use, the term refers to someone’s [specific] worldview that, while being subjective, cannot be adequately inspected outside of the experience of the individual holding it. After all, most of us have heard and tried to listen to Russel Brandt spewing nonsense and labelling it his “philosophy”.
More upsetting than that (to me) was the willingness of his defendants to call it the same.
I maintain that this is an instance when observing subjectivity too closely is more vicious than virtuous because it allows people to exonerate specific ideas from critical examination.
It turns out that philosophy, as it relates to the worthwhile area of academic study (and points to the erudite thinkers of the past), is concerned with facts. More importantly, it worries about challenging what these and all thinkers hold as true.
Philosophy is about thinking about thinking, and further, worrying about how that thinking occurs. It is a meta-cognitive commitment to knowledge. A commitment to the process of arriving at what we can securely refer to as knowledge.
My views on philosophy have changed. And so have many of my perspectives on the world and what I know about it. I am more sceptical than before and more willing to scrutinise my perception in critical ways. I have found in philosophy the essence of humility and intellectual honesty.
And after indulging in the proper study of philosophy, to an extent some would consider more than necessary, this acquisition of intellectual consistency is absolutely priceless.