A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation -- or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: , like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown.
Language analysis as the definition of philosophy changes philosophy from being a subject matter into a tool for dealing with other subject matters. It becomes a method without content.
But other questions have not met with the same success for such a long period of time. In summary, it can be said that defining philosophy as a set of questions and answers is not unique by any means. Other disciplines or studies could also be defined by the questions they seek to answer. If this definition is accepted as the only definition, one must set forth the particular kinds of questions that are restricted to philosophy. Obviously the answers to the problem of pollution are not the kinds of questions one deals with in philosophy. But the relation of man's body to his mind is one of the kinds of questions that philosophers have regarded as their own.
This is one of the more extreme definitions of philosophy. This definition began as an emphasis in philosophy at about the turn of the century. A growing revolt took place against the metaphysical systems in philosophy. Metaphysical systems in philosophy explained everything from the standpoint of a great idea like "mind" or "spirit." The reaction was primarily against the philosophy of idealism which is a highly developed metaphysical philosophy. More of this will be forthcoming in the fifth definition. The analysis-of-language-emphasis rejected metaphysics and accepted the simple, but useful modern standard of scientific verification. Their central thesis is that only truths of logic and empirically verifiable statements are meaningful. What does scientific verification mean in this context? If you can validate or reproduce an experiment or whatever, you can say it is true. If there is no way to reproduce or validate the experiment in the context of science, there was then no claim for truth.
How do verification and language work together? Try this example. How do you know when to take a statement as referring to a fact? We can use three sentences: (l) God is love, (2) Disneyland is in California, and (3) rape is wrong. These sentences are constructed in a similar manner. But only one is factual, i.e., it can be scientifically verified. Thousands of people go yearly to Disneyland and anyone who doubts can go see for himself. But you cannot scientifically verify that rape is wrong and that God is love. I can say factually that a person was raped and may even witness the event as a fact, but how can I verify the word "wrong?" God is not seen and love is not seen scientifically. Are these statements meaningful?