The definition of philosophy is from two Greek words “philo and Sophia”, which means, “love of wisdom”. The kind of wisdom we are talking about here is knowledge, so philosophy is the love of knowledge.
Prof. Omoregbe stated that the aim of philosophy is “the logical clarification of thought”. For the sake of this work I will define philosophy “as an attempt to understand all things in the light of what is basic and ultimate from the standpoint of reasoning”. From the above definition, it follows that every discipline started from philosophy, since their aim is to provide rational and logical solution to problems.
The value of philosophy to every day life cannot be pushed away, from time immemorial man has always sorted answers to questions and the human mind has not relented in this regards. One of such time when the value of philosophy became so valuable was in the classical period, when the human mind was divided into three stages, namely religious, metaphysical and the positive stage. This according to Comte “applies to both individuals as well as mankind as a whole in their intellectual development.
In the first stage, i.e., the religious stage, man tends to have a religious worldview and interprets events in a religious way, this is the early or primitive stage of the development of the human mind. The second stage is the metaphysical stage, its the era when man tends to give abstract metaphysical explanation to reality. The third stage i.e. positive science, is the stage in which scientific worldview replaces religious and metaphysical worldview.
What this means is that man at every point of his existence has relied fully on philosophy to explain reality, it follows that man cannot grab holistically the nature of things, the only way for man to get out of this predicament is to resort to philosophical explanations.
So many people today thinks that the physical sciences are more valuable than philosophy because of the direct and physical impact it has on their lives, they argued that the study of philosophy is only relevant to the students of philosophy alone, or its effects to the society is indirect, this position according to B. Russell “is held by the practical men, who recognizes only material needs”. Non philosophy student if they must understand the value of philosophy, they must free their minds from the prejudice and wrong conception about philosophy. Those who only understand material needs of men are making a big mistake, they fail to understand that if in our society we have all the material and physical things we need, it is not enough to produce a just and humane society. A just and humane society can only be achieved through the observance of ethical standard.
Philosophy does not only question the answers provided, but it also questions our doubt, disbelief and conviction, it questions the grounds upon which we draw our conclusion. Some says that philosophy has no definite answers to problems, unlike the physical sciences, the truth is philosophy is preparing the ground for continuous learning. If we accept that learning is a terminal task there would be no need to read further. According to B. Russell, he stated that “philosophy is always in the habit of questioning whatever thing we accept as the end point to any problem until we can question no more”. Dr. Ukagba once said during a lecture that “philosophy is knowing everything about everything until one knows little about nothing”. It therefore means that philosophy is the ultimate search for reality and certainty.
Philosophy as a second order discipline to every other course of study is to question the answers provided by these disciplines. The real value of philosophy is in its uncertain stage, that is the tendency to question all things and revisit them. Philosophy has four branches that are very relevant to the human existence, these are metaphysic, epistemology, axiology and logic. Metaphysic is the study of being it enables us to know the basicc stuff of all things, it is also been referred to as the science of all science. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and how man aquires knowledge. Within the academic world there is a great debate among scholars on how the human mind can acquire knowledge. If one find himself in a society without standard, culture and moral values, one will begin to appreciate the values of philosophy, hence ethics which studies the norms and standard of the society can only be found in the domain of philosophy. One thing man cannot do without is the act of thinking (reason), i.e. logic, which is the principles and methods of distinguishing correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning, it helps us to formulate better policies, aid bureaucratic and diplomatic strategies, it assist technologist and the scientist in their work.
The truth is every age has a dominant philosophy by which it is influenced, that is to say in whatever stage man found himself there is a philosophy that is influencing that stage, philosophy does not exist in a space, that is every philosophy exist within a culture, therefore it helps to refine our cultures.