The word philosophy is said to be of an Ancient Greek origin: φιλοσοφία (philosophía), meaning “love of wisdom”.(Philosophia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus)
The Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College further defines it as:
1. orig., love of, or the search for, wisdom or knowledge
2. theory or logical analysis of the principles underlying conduct, thought, knowledge, and the nature of the universe.
In a simplified version of it, ‘philosophy is the attempt to understand the world (but at a very high level, which is what tends to make it abstract). Philosophy is more concerned with seeing the forest than with knowing the details of individual trees (that’s the job of the sciences). Yet it’s also concerned with making sure that we’ve got our intellectual and ethical foundations well-laid. After all, badly-laid foundations won’t do a good job of supporting anything that’s laid upon them.
So the job of responsible philosophers is (among other things) to lay the best possible foundations for our understanding of our world, to provide “the big picture” that’s left out of more specific areas of knowledge, and to help us understand clearly what values should be most important to us.’
Hence, in my understanding, philosophy is a two-fold concept; a quest to understand the world, in other words, (new) knowledge and laying the best foundations in trying to do so by relying on systematic and analytical approach to discover that knowledge.
So what is the philosophy behind my research, then?