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What Is Philosophy?

A story about making the obvious a bit more obvious reveals the purpose of philosophy.

My old university professor had returned to Delhi from Cambridge. A while ago, I went to see him at his residence where the professor was hosting his sister and her family for Diwali. Over dinner, I watched him talk to his nine-year-old niece. It somewhat resembled our interactions with him during our dissertation vivas at university, except that the roles had now reversed. He looked a bit like a college lad who had been chided, while his young niece authoritatively posed questions to him.

“So, what subject do you teach?” she asked. “Philosophy,” he muttered. Philosophy did not figure in her list of subjects. Science, mathematics, social sciences, and grammar were the only subjects of which the nine-year-old knew. So, she questioned him further, “What is philosophy?”

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Updated On : 17th Jun, 2019


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