From The Nature of Philosophical Inquiry, by Robert O Johann,
Readings in Philosophy of Man,Vol 1 Ateneo de Manila University,
Ontological- because in philosophy knowing does
not only imply the veil between us and reality, but
a progressive discerning of its nature.
Pragmatism- because philosophy views thematic
knowledge as an instrumental function of
experience aimed at the transformation of
knowledge through testing via consequence and
validity by their success.
What does inquiry mean?
It is man’s effort to integrate his experience as
responsible agent. By experience we mean the
interactive process itself, that is, the human self
in dynamic relation with the whole range of the
1. Man must react and respond to
the external problems around
him, keeping in mind that his
responses will have impact to
both the present as well as to the
2.Man must be aware of the
inadequacies of past habits
which give rise to hesitancy and
3. Man must be aware of uncertainty.
The uncertainty is a positive and
pervasive quality of the interactive
process itself. It is this incoherence
which calls for inquiry.The
unsureness of an action is not private
and subjective, nor is it merely
negative. It is an all-embracing
situation between man and his
Communal Life: the responsible self exists and
responds only in a community of selves. Thus
philosophical inquiry includes:
1. Shared experiences. There is cooperative
activity in inquiry. As man lives in a
community he is affected by his culture, thus it
affects the way he sees his problem and his
choice of a solution.
2. A shared experience which creates a
community. Though ones’ experience may be
enough for him to survive, once it is shared,
such experience evolves into a tradition thus
3.Considerations beyond common sense. Sooner
or later, man recognizes that common sense(set
of regulative meanings and ways applied to
particular instance) is not enough, hence he
needs to transcend conventionalities to effect
Philosophical inquiry then looks to all
meanings in the experiences of man and his
community, both on their relationships and
quality of life.
It emerges in response to tensions and conflicts
inherent in human life itself.
It lifts life to a level of integrity and coherence
that cannot be reached without it.
Thus Philosophy cannot divorce itself from
the ongoing course of human life and the
actual concerns of man. Because it bears the
quality of life itself, it must begin there and end
But how does one cope with the fact that
culture shapes ones’ outlook in life? Haven’t
philosophers since time immemorial disgareed
with each other due mainly to their differing
cultural miliue? Where have man gone by the
help of philosophical inquiry?
Though it is a fact that no two men are alike in
conviction and points of view, such difference
is the decisive factor in shaping philosophical
The ideal of course is the ultimate integration in
universal communion, but man still has a long
way to go with this.
For now, we can only grope towards
communion through dialogue and discussion
in an effort to purify our separate visions.
1.LOGIC: Inquiry should be structured coherently.
One must make sense of what his self-
awareness unfolds of his environment to him.
This means making a logical whole to make sense
of them on the level of thought. This brings about
2.PHENOMENOLOGY: Logical theoretical
coherence may not be enough and should be
continually tested by what is called
phenomenological adequacy. This means that one
must live his thought. In addition to self-
consistency, an adequate philosophic stance
must also conform with what is disclosed in
direct experience, which a man has and can
become aware of in union with others in the
3.META-PRAGMATICS: philosophical inquiry
must be planned towards the context and
service to human life by controlling its own
conduct of inquiry and by measuring the
adequacy of results. It must formulate an ideal
of human wholeness and should work for
continuous criticism guided by its vision.
How do you respond to a particular happening
Think through your own life: My experience is
a shared experience.
Why is said that a thinker or a philosopher is
shaped by his own cultural milieu? Is it
Do you think there really is a need for