Nothing is perhaps more ambiguous than to say that philosophy is merely “the love of wisdom”. Some of the most tedious academic discussions that I had while studying philosophy at Brigham Young University were when we philosophized on the meaning of philosophy.
Philosophy often has a bad name. As a student I learned that philosophy is of two types: (1) good philosophy, and (2) bad philosophy. Bad philosophy is, sadly, far more prevalent than good philosophy, and when most people think of philosophy in general (synonymous to “ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth”) they think of bad philosophy.
Good philosophy’s purpose is to present a consistent worldview, as we find the proper relationships and balances of man’s place in this world. Whereas bad philosophy results in cognitive dissonance, good philosophy leads to consistency in thought. Whether we admit it or not, we all have a philosophy (i.e. a view of the world, a justification for how we know that world, and what ethical relationships we accept from that discovery). The endeavor of knowledge is to have a good philosophy that leads to a discovery of truth.
If there is something that philosophy has taught me, it is how to think systematically and according to principle. This is not to say that I am in possession of the hidden secrets of knowledge (or that every thought and belief that I currently possess is completely consistent), but that I was pressed—as a student—to defend my claims and the certainty of my knowledge. I discovered that some of my beliefs were in contradiction to knowledge that I knew was true, and I better learned how to defend and explain truth on its own terms.
The following are papers that I have written on philosophy. As I tend to write more on political philosophy, it is expected that most of these papers and articles will follow that theme.
John Rawls on John Locke: Reading More That What is There