Why is philosophy misunderstood?
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I would say that the question answers itself, in true philosophical fashion. Philosophy as a discipline is confusing. I think that it is for this reason that it is misunderstood. Different people will debate whether it is art or science. Some will argue that it is strictly its own discipline, while others will suggest that it is more to be found in literature than anywhere else. Others will deride going anywhere else other than the branch to find tenets of philosophical understanding. Some will argue that it must be political, while others will demand that it should be logical. Epistemology and metaphysics are all a part of the study and for this, it becomes very confusing to many people. The reality is that philosophical study is one where there is no defined end. This lack of certainty is confusing to many because so many become so lost in its study of divergence. In the end, philosophy will not do what other disciplines can do. It does not create cures for disease, as medical science does. It does not create stunning works of art or something that is aesthetically pleasing. It does not even generate agreement as to what is "correct." It is a statement that generates more questions, and its vitality is measured in that which is uncertain. This is where the discipline is challenging, and where misunderstanding is evident. This answer probably does not fully answer the question, being true to the philosophical nature of it.
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