What is philosophy? This is a question which is hard to pin-point and answer because; it can be argued that philosohpy is a lot of things. But for the sake of this essay an accurate and working definition must be presented and simplified. Philosophy is similar to the scientific method in that it is a process for answering questions. Both methods begin with a question, though unlike scientific reasoning, philosophical questioning is more elastic and leaves more space for original thought and observation; science on the other hand is based on very specific and concise processes which lead to ridgid conclusions that to paraphrase my Philosophy teacher can leave a person feeling unsatisfied with the answers they gain.
But how exactly are Philosophy and Science related? The answer is extremely simple when taken from a historical standpoint. As pointed out in class the earliest Scientists were called Philosophers; Philosophy also gave birth to many modern Sciences. Indeed Philosophy is the father of contemporary Scientific reasoning. But while Scientific reasoning leads one to academic-centered cold objective conclusions, Philosophy by its nature gives answers that are less straightforward but more explanatory, encompassing more information to round out the answers received even further. In the words of Professor Walter Sinnot-Armstrong: "If you want to learn about minds, take a course in psychology. But if you want to learn about how minds are related to bodies, or how physics is related to psychology, then philosophy (of mind) is for you." Philosohpy's encompassing nature gives it an advantage over Scientific reasoning in this regard. While conclusions based on Science require special evidence and experimentation, Philosophy's distinct method of reasoning allows anything to be studied, analyzed, and considered through reason; meaning Philosohpy's branch of understanding can reach areas which are unreacheable or at least limited through Science.
In conclusion Philosophy is a tool of understanding. A process of using observation, retained knowledge, and aquired information to reach a reasonable conclusion. Like the Scientific method reasoning with Philosophy requires one to follow rational steps, but without the ridgid foundation of Science Philosophy is allowed to expand upon and attack issues in a way that Science cannot.