One of the ways to understand, the society, world, life, being, and especiall, oneself, and to give them meaning is philosophy. Philosophy is an activity of thinking and acting but not of doing or forming. Philosophy is not a complete phenomenon; it is a process. Step by step and stage by stage, it faces the reality. Philosophy helps us understand and face the secret of ourselves, life, and being (existence) as a chaser of mystery in an endless ocean. In this sense, philosophy, in a Heideggerian definition, is revealing the secret of life/being (existence).
Philosophy is love of wisdom. It is the bottomless well for slaking thirst. It is also a questioning on the world, life, and being (existence). This questioning starts primarily with rights because, according to philosophers, questioning should start with rights not with wrongs. In this sense, philosophy is the questioning of bases of the things we regard right. However, in this process, the role of philosophy is not to set rules. Instead, as highlighted by Kant, its role is to “analyze the special judgments of the common sense”. Philosophy is not avoiding problems but sitting at the heart of them and being able to embrace life together with them. Philosophy is facing oneself and his/her ontic-epistemic origins (roots). Therefore, philosophy is seeing oneself in the mirror. Philosophy is also not avoiding pains or tears but being able to savor the flavor life among pains and tears and purify one’s soul under the light of them. However, while philosophy gives pains and tears meaning and gets closer to them, it is, at the same time, to be able to avoid feud, rage, and hatred as much as possible. Because, the main feelings that thwart philosophy as well as time and life are feud, rage, and hatred. In the cases of such dense negative feelings, philosophy experiences abdication of reason. They prevent it from seeing the reality, truth and being (existence). In addition, philosophy, under all circumstances, is a process of human being’s reconciliation with his/her own self, history, era and internalization of them. From this perspective, philosophy besides being both a questioning on insight and outside world, is reconciliation with and internalization of primarily one’s own cultural heritage and values and then the universal cultural heritage and values.
Philosophy is a journey to the history of ideas through four elements (earth, water, air, and fire). However, this journey is not to go beyond the limits. It is to know the limits and to discover new things within these limits while thinking and questioning. In this sense, philosophy is a journey to wisdom and to the discovery of paraconscious, and to the hidden and secret.
This journey, as in Budda, is the extinction of ambitions, desires, and fire. However, this journey is a journey which knows its limits with its all aspects and acts. Thus, philosophy is to go to places which is possible to go with reason with reason and not to attempt to go to the places not possible to go with reason with reason.
Philosophy in Erzurum is to read the self, life and being (existence) in the sublimity of Palandoken Mountains, warmth of snow, catalysis of cold, lifelong-like length of nights, and steam of a glass of tea (drunk with a lump of sugar in the mouth). But this reading is not a finite reading. This is a conscious reading running towards life and infinity (eternity) to the last bit of power without giving up and with the enthusiasm of a baby who have just started crawling. Then philosophy is being able to see or desire to see the infinity in the end (finite), not the end (finite) itself. In addition, philosophy is being able to courageously ask what one does not know rather than what he/she knows as Socrates did. Philosophy, just like in Jaspers, is to be on a journey (way) with a bundle the food of which is only words and concepts. And, as in Merleau-Ponty, it is to be aware of the fabric of our bodies with no distinctions of color and tissue and to touch the invisible through the visible.
Philosophy is feeling the power of speech in science and technique. As in “Schrödinger’s cat” experiment, it is seeing and solving the unobservable paradox. In addition, philosophy is to be able to solve the conflicts between itself and science and technique and among the disciplines themselves. Therefore, philosophy is to understand and explain the human being, society, life, and being (existence) and link them to each other in a context in which the experiment tools are only words, concepts, and terms and the laboratory is the mind.
In the atmosphere of what and how philosophy is, if you want to read and solve the secret and riddle of yourself, world, life, and being (existence) and also to closely see and experience how the views are distilled in the refinery of mind and reason in the rise of reasonable thinking in Thales; in the impossibility of stepping in the same river twice in Heraclitus; in Socrates’ skilful questioning and determination; in the way how the real world and the world of ideas were bridged in Plato; in a fadeless genius like Aristotle, in how the map of sciences was drawn and how the logic was formulated; in why the questions of Epicurus on God, death, and evil have not been answered yet; in solemnity of the stoic people against death, pains, and troubles; in Slave Philosopher Epictetus’ endurance against pain and cruelty; in King Philosopher Marcus Aurelius’ limitless grace and honesty; in the marriage between Platonism and Christianity in Saint Augustinus; in Boethius’ submissiveness confiding himself to the consolation in philosophy in spite of betrayals and being desolate; in the cosmic ladder developed by Al-Farabi and İbn Sina to explain World/God relationship; in three different Al-Ghazalis in the anti-rationalist reason and view in Al-Ghazali; in the harmony of philosophy with literature in İbn Tufail; on the peak of rationalism in Ibn Rüşd (Averroes); in the blend of pain and agony with flavor of love in Abelard; in enjoying the love beyond all ages in Thomas Aquinas; in the sharpness of razor in William of Ockham; in Ibn Khaldun’s ideology embracing physical and social reality; in how the laws of nature were drawn from the darkness of night; in Hobbes’ straightforward and aggressive language; in how dualism in Descartes resulted in conflict in being (existence); in how Spinoza formulated “God-in-one” and “One-in-God” in metaphysics; in how, in Leibnitz’s optimism, mental system (order) was formed in infinite number of monads; in the power of mind and sublimity of liberalism in Locke; in Berkeley, in how the sentence “To be is to be perceived” was experienced; in how Hume defeated (destroyed) the greatest figures of history of philosophy with the stone of “causality” he placed into “Hume’s Fork” by transforming doubt into a cautious skeptic; in criticism of civilization from all perspectives in Rousseau; in integration of rationalism and empiricism in Kant; in how two great traditions like West and East got closer to each other in the philosopher of pessimism, Schopenhauer; in the evolution of idealism in a pure idealist like Fichte; in Schelling’s discourse of integrity of human being with the nature in an artistic style; in how the master-slave dialectic was conceptualized in Hegel; in Mark’s rebellion excelled with dialectic; in radical criticism and the challenge of art of philosophy to values and life; in learning by doing in Dewey; in language games and how to go beyond language and logic in Wittgenstein; in Kierkegaard, in the possibility for existence, anxiety, and decision to transform into an ontic element; in Bergson’s explanation of the whole life by intuition; in Heidegger’s skillful adaptation of phenomenology to existentialism; in Sartre’s praxis interpretation of existentialism and politicization of it by making it popular; in Foucault’s re-questioning and interpretation the problem of power under the concept of “three types of power” in a poststructuralist discourse; and in how philosophy is relished in Derrida’s deconstruction between the lines of philosophical texts, please join us. Will you?
With my best regards,
Assist. Prof. Dr. Hüseyin AYDOĞDU
Head of the Department