The notion “philosophy” can be regarded, from different point of view. On one hand, philosophy is a type of outlook and world perception, which claims about the supremacy of logical implications, scientific conclusions and universal regularities and characteristics of the human world. On the other hand, philosophy is an individual field of study, a scientific discipline, which possesses its categories, objectives, methods and evaluation criteria. In any case, it becomes obvious that philosophy is the opposition to the mythology and religion, in terms of thinking and interpreting the world and objective reality. At the same time, it is close to the concepts of science, logics, critical thinking and activities of though. This paper is going to analyze the subject matter of philosophy, define its methodology and principles, indicate the relations between philosophical thinking and acculturation and determine the connection between philosophy and criticism.
To start with, the philosophy is a not a relative or subjective field of study. It aims at discovering objective regularities, properties and characteristic of the external world and the human place in it. It is possible to view philosophy as the style of thinking or manner of thought. In contrast to mythological and religious outlooks, philosophy emphasizes on the value of logical connections, associations and scientific conclusion, when it comes to analyzing the universal reality. The philosophy as the science represents many different schools, movements and trends, which provide unique and specific notions on the design of the universe and concepts of the objective reality. Therefore, it is easy to agree that the subject matter of philosophy is rather blurred and diverse, since there are no universal definitions of the world, reality and universal principles of life.
To a great extent, the philosophers and thinkers are interested in the issues of immortality, existence of God, nature of human individuality, freedom of the choice, role of doubts and way of thinking. Potentially, all of the above mentioned notions can be regarded as the subject matter of philosophy. Additionally, it is possible to mention that the matter of philosophy consists in the investigation of the undiscovered rules and laws of the universe for the sake of general knowledge about the world and human nature.
Overall, the subject matter of philosophy has much in common with the critical thinking, investigation of the universal tenets and ideas of the world and examination of the new approaches to the eternal questions of humanity and life. Interestingly, many philosophic schools provide various answers to the chosen questions and interpret them, according to different criteria.
The philosophy as a science applies to a variety of scientific methods, which form the basis for its findings and achievements. Firstly, it is important to mention about the role of critical approach, in the philosophic thinking. The philosophy tends to criticize the achieved information and base its implications, on the critical thinking. Additionally, it utilizes the methods of analysis, synthesis and generalization, which assist in the defining the principal tenets and ideas of the reality and human place in it.
Moreover, philosophy refers to the methods of argument and dialectics. Both methods are closely connected with the critical approach and thinking. Thus, they presuppose the usage of arguments and logical ideas for the support of solutions to the existed problems. In other words, the philosophy critically examines the notions and concepts of reality, before coming up with the relevant solutions.
Finally, it is important to mention about the methodic doubt. According to it, it is essential to doubt every notion to check its truthfulness and rightness. This method is widely used in the philosophy, and it indicates the relative nature of human knowledge about the world.
To a great extent, the cultural studies influence the philosophic outlook and methodology. The matter is that culture strongly affects the social life of a certain community, identifying its value, preferences, interests and needs. Correspondingly, the culture is capable of determining the philosophic tendencies and ways of thinking. Recently, the issue of acculturation has raised the questions about the barriers to the philosophic thinking, caused by the cultural implications. Actually, the acculturation can influence the philosophy and present barriers for its development, due to the following reasons.
In fact, acculturation presupposes the mixture and fusion of different cultures, caused by the assimilation of social communities, globalization and exchange of traditional and religious heritage. The acculturation can pose a threat to the existence of individual cultures, since it blurs the clear lines between different communities and individual values. Largely, it affects the philosophic thinking, which depends on the cultural traditions and ideas, to a great extent.
Acculturation results in the several stages of the cultural exchange and acceptance, which includes assimilation, integration, separation, marginalization, transmutation. Obviously, the process may include the cultural stress and difficulties, connected with the adoption of new cultural outlook. In this light, it is important to mention about the role of philosophy in the social life, as it considerably identifies the social order and manner of thinking. Since the acculturation influences the life of the entire community, the conventional philosophic thought loses its topicality and significance. As a result, it has to adopt to the new cultural context and situation of social development.
Often, the process of acculturation may result in the negative consequences, including the disappearance of individual cultures, irrevocable changes in national consciousness and identity and shift to the new type of philosophic thinking. The barrier, presented by acculturation, means the contradiction between the conventional norms and standards of thinking and new context. As a result, the philosophy cannot function sufficiently and rely on the historical heritage of the social community.
It has been already mentioned that philosophy imposes the critical approach to the investigation of the world and examination of the human nature. At the same time, philosophy strongly relies on the achievements and findings of other sciences and disciplines. Particularly, it depends on the cultural and traditional norms and standards, typical for a certain social community. The cultural values, customs and interests define the direction of philosophic thinking. Additionally, the philosophy itself implements the traditions and customs as the primary tool of its observations and criticism.
Generally, the philosophic outlook does not reject the ideas and concepts of religion and mythology, which had formed the background for world perception, at the earlier stages of human civilization. The difference is that philosophy critically examines and explains the cultural findings and provide the scientific interpretation to the available cultural norms and rules. Thus, the philosophic critical thinking focuses on the analysis of the traditions and creation of new theories and approaches, based on the existed achievements.
To sum up, philosophy is a scientific discipline, which investigates the issues of the objective reality and human nature. In its researches and studies, philosophy relies of methods of analysis, synthesis, critical approach and others. Philosophy is closely related to other fields of human life, such as culture, history, religion and social studies. Respectively, a change in any of those aspects presents significant barriers for the development of philosophic thinking. This is the case with acculturation, which changes the cultural environment and represents new demands to the philosophy. Overall, it is possible to conclude that philosophy is a complex and diverse study, which combines the achievements of numerous natural sciences and discusses the questions of the objective reality.