Task of Philosophy

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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The philosophers, from the very beginning, have tried to find answers to questions of truth, the meaning of existence and the meaning of life. However, how to find answers, that is what should be the task, is a very problematic issue. In the times of Plato and Descartes, the task was to find an objective, unchanging answer to these questions. In the passage taken from his book " The Crisis of the European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology", Husserl claims that the task of philosophy must change. In this essay I will carefully examine what the task of philosophy according to Plato and Descartes was, and why Husserl thinks that the task should change. Then I will analyze what Kierkegaard thinks about the task and argue what may be a different task according to him.

According to Plato, the task for philosophy is to reach a certain, objective truth that is independent of us.

Plato thinks that there is a truth that never changes, and he defines the philosophers as the people, who are able to grasp what is always the same ( Reader1, 29). Therefore for him, the task of philosophy should be to reach that truth. Obviously, reaching that kind of a goal rejects to have any kind of subjective views that change overtime.

Descartes also believes that there should be a certain knowledge. Certainty is very important for Descartes, and he gives a great importance to reason and thinking. Here we see that Descartes agrees with Plato in the sense that he wants to reach a certain truth. On the other hand, by the proposition "I am, I exist", he is the first philosopher, who puts the subject " I " in the context of philosophy. The subject was something, which Plato ignored. Thus, we...