I thought about "the medium is the message", and kind of transposed the similar thought-pattern to philosophy.

Finding answers often seems to be at the very core of the subject: people fight with arguments, and reason in order to convince their opponent/conversational companion of their theories. While it would be wrong to assume that they have found "THE answer", each idea is a piece of the global puzzle, and hopes to answer at least partly certain essential questions.

However, it also appears evident that philosophy is an "activity": the activity of reason, the exercise of thought. Therefore, limiting philosophy to finding answer would reduce it greatly, and would not form an accurate account of the researchers, the thinkers, and the scholars, who, despite the fact that they have not found the ultimate "truth" if there is any, have contributed to an additional depth of thinking. This is the "thrive of the process", the intellectual activity of philosophy.

So allow me to ask the following question if I may: Is philosophy the quest of the answer, or the thrive of the process? Is it both?

  • "Thrive of the process"? Is this a neologism, at first I thought it was a mixture of "thrust" and "drive".
    – Conifold
    Jun 21 '15 at 21:20
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    @conifold: its not, in strict or vague terms, a neologism; thrive is an English word meaning 'to flourish/prosper'; and understanding this makes the intent of the sentence perfectly clear. Jun 23 '15 at 10:43
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    @Mozibur Ullah The expression sounds off to me, "thrill of the process" yes, "thrive of the process"? I am not sure how the meanings of the two words are supposed to combine, the intent is clear from the context, but not from this expression.
    – Conifold
    Jun 24 '15 at 3:17

I'll assume you are talking about Philosophy as a singular object, not as an ordinary activity. To differentiate, I'll capitalize the first, and not the second.

What "is" Philosophy is – and arguably always will be – an open question. Books are still being written about it, and every original work in Philosophy (a rare thing, but that still happens nonetheless) will be implicitly giving a new answer to this question. In fact, this is one question that should be allowed to be repeated here, from time to time, if we are not to become just a persistent quiz show.

My bite is inspired by one of these books (Deleuze & Guattari's "What is Philosophy?"). Philosophy is about creating concepts.

Creating concepts is obviously not the same as creating entries in a dictionary. It is also not what scientists do when they need a label to index some thing, to create consensus about some new observable or definable (yet never before observed, or defined) thing.

Philosophy could be confused with poetry, then, but there is an important distinction, which is that a concept is not primarily about sensation, or about the memory of sensations. A concept is not about anything, it is that which is not about something else. To answer your question more directly, philosophers care about problems, not... questions. They'll obviously look for good problems, legitimate problems, problems that resist solution. They then explore these problems, and the trail of these explorations is the corpus of philosophical literature.

So Philosophy is a process, but it does not necessarily advance towards a future state of "satisfaction" (answer). A philosophical problem is not a disease, that has to be cured. That these things exist, is what the Greeks discovered, thousands of years ago.

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    very insightful answer
    – Cicero
    Jun 20 '15 at 23:33
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    I agree with Cicero on this, thank you for enlightening us on this. :)
    – Liz
    Jun 21 '15 at 10:43

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