Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

What is philosophy?

Philosophy, in the broadest sense, is the branch of human thought concerned with asking questions and then pondering more than one possible answer. This distinguishes philosophy from naval-gazing, which is just about asking questions, and from religion, which tends to ponder one and only one possible answer to its central questions.

The types of questions, and through discussions on answers, lead to various sub branches of philosophy, and when certain answers are agreed upon for the moment, then those answers can lead to math, science, and other fields of thought.

For example, questioning what is truth, and what makes something true, can lead to first order logic. From there, math can be derived by making clear definitions, declaring axioms and rules of proof, and seeing what you find. You might wonder if mathematicians are like religious followers when they say that 2+2 can only be 4. But mathematicians can ponder another solution. This ends up with them simply showing a contradiction with some other thing they believe in. So either that thing is false too (or at least not the only answer), which they can consider (and develop non-Euclidean geometry for instance) or they've shown that so far there still seems to just be one correct answer for 2+2 and many incorrect ones. Serious religious people don't tend to ponder possible answers outside their own doctrine, even if they would judge those other possible answers are incorrect.

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