Philosophy was defined as the knowledge and understanding of the primary causes and beginnings of all things. It aims to create a picture of the world and human beings in it by rational means of mental activity. At the same time, it represents only one of the sections of the diversity of the human world and culture, closely interacting with other spheres of a person’s spiritual life. There are three main branches of philosophy: ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
Ethics is a philosophical discipline that explores people’s behavior on moral grounds, while epistemology studies knowledge and reasoned belief. The latter asks the questions “Why am I sure of this?”, “How can I be sure of my confidence?” For ethics, the key issues are “What is good and what is bad? What defines a good life?” In turn, metaphysics attempts to understand how existence works by studying the constituents of reality. It tries to find answers to questions such as “What are thoughts?”, “What are things?” “How are they related?” It became apparent during antiquity that within philosophy, there are interrelated but at the same time separate branches.
Knowledge is information obtained in a certain way and ordered in a certain way; it is always probabilistic, historical, and hypothetical. In the course of evolution, its content, quality, explanatory power, and predictive power increase, replacing less productive theories with more useful ones. Epistemology operates within the limits where philosophy, despite its speculative character, nevertheless corresponds to something real. For example, it can be an observable fact or the cognitive boundaries of the mind. Thus, reality appears in epistemology as a criterion for limiting thought.
The ethical views of ancient philosophers varied; therefore, there were different answers to what constitutes human morality. For example, Plato believed that a synthesis of personal and public good, truth and good, is essential. The philosopher could not imagine the individual’s morality without a connection with society. That is, a good life, according to Plato, is a virtuous life full of good deeds. In Plato’s “Gorgias” dialogue, Socrates claims that it is much better to suffer than to do something immoral. While an evil person, no matter how powerful they are and no matter what benefits they use, is disharmonious and is in a conflict between themselves and the world around them.
Reasoning in the framework of metaphysics, Aristotle believed that reality is a collection of dynamic processes leading to the achievement of certain goals. For Socrates, knowledge and deeds, theory and practice are the same. Hence, his confidence that true knowledge and pure wisdom available to man are inseparable from just acts. The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus was first to state that a worthy life is about experiencing pleasure explicitly. However, it is worth noting that this philosopher in no way advocated losing himself in sensual debauchery. Aristotle’s idea is that the category “good life” is more objectivist than subjectivist.
To think philosophically for me means to reason within the framework of clear ethical and moral coordinates, relying entirely on the rational. This means a complex and analytical approach to life’s difficulties. Therefore, thinking is not limited to any framework but summarizes all the accumulated knowledge base to search for truth. It is necessary to understand fundamental philosophical theories and concepts to apply them directly in life. It is difficult enough to realize what to live for and how to live correctly. By asking questions that have no answer, a person expands the scope of their consciousness, gets rid of stereotypes. Philosophy structures thoughts; it teaches how to analyze vast volumes of texts and information in general and increases the general level of erudition. The main practical application of philosophy is the knowledge and search for the right life decisions in everyday life through acquired wisdom. Through philosophy, I find solace in my life because I understand that the existential problems that bother me have also piqued the interest of the most intelligent people in humanity.
Socrates considered the main thing for a person to be the ability to determine the boundaries of their knowledge and ignorance, to accept that the truth is available to very few. In my life, I apply this principle in the following way: I try not to worry when I fail to know what I would like. I understand that absolute certainty is based on delusion, and then I admit that I may be wrong in my knowledge. Epictetus’ Guidelines provide stories that remind people that they are not as exceptional as they think they are. When I get into trouble, I remind myself that every person has had difficult moments, and my grief is not unique. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a poet and statesman, is considered the founder of late Stoicism. He left behind several philosophical dialogues, but his views are most often judged by the “Letters from a Stoic” and the treatise “On Benefits.” Seneca believed that we should gratefully accept trials because they give us a chance to discover what we actually can. In my life, I try to take life’s challenges stoically.
I believe that it is impossible to live a happy life by doing evil deeds, and therefore Plato’s concept of a good life is close to me. However, I am also convinced of the importance of receiving pleasure. Thus, the point of view of Epicurus seems reasonable to me. At the same time, I agree that a well-lived life is a subjective concept, and its essence is different for each person.