A Dress, Perceptions, and Ideas
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were asked to answer the question, what is philosophy? With such a broad concept, it is easier to compare it to something than it is to try and explain it. My conclusion was that philosophy is a lot like #thedress, which I’m sure you’ve heard of if you’ve been on the internet sometime in the past 8 months. If you haven’t, essentially it is a photo of a dress where some people view the dress colours to be white and gold, and some people view it as blue and black. I suggest looking it up, as it is very interesting. Below I will paste the link to a slideshow I used along with an edited script of my main points.
If you would like to view the slideshow, click here.
Main Points For Slideshow (edited to fit blog context)
Slide 1: “On February 25th, 2015 …. the internet was shaken by a photo of a dress. It caused many debates, and most people are quite over it now. Let’s take a look at how this internet phenomenon is like philosophy.”
Slide 2: I had a class take a vote of who sees the dress as what colours. We had a bit of disagreement on this issue, but isn’t that a lot like any issue? There will always be different viewpoints. Upon an initial viewing of this photo, with no additional knowledge, we did not know which answer was right and which was wrong. So both viewpoints had to be taken as equally valid. In philosophy, we look at ideas and concepts that we do not know a definite answer to. To be successful at expanding your idea of the world, you have to look at other people’s perspectives. Even if you still disagree at the end of the day, considering other viewpoints could lead you to new knowledge, and new questions.
Slide 3: So what happened when this picture showed up? Conversation. As my class had read about in the article Talk With Me by Nigel Warburton, philosophy is all about conversation. Now, in the case of the dress it was a mix between civil conversations and intense arguments. This can still line up with philosophy though. When we talk about philosophical issues that we personally care about, for example, what happens after we die, people will get passionate and try to explain why they think what they think. I saw many people arguing over the dress picture when it first came out, just like people will argue over complex topics such as morality.
Slide 4: So what colour was the dress? In real life, the owner has said it was blue and black. Still, people will defend that it isn’t. Why, after a truth has come out, do we still defend our old ideas? In our journey through philosophy, many times we are trying to find the ANSWER. Most of the time, we don’t. Some topics might not have an answer, but others do. People will all have opinions on topics, and since we don’t know the answer to those topics they are all equally valid points. But even if we know the answer, it can still be challenged. People will still say their opinion is truth.
Slide 5: So what is philosophy? Philosophy is topics that get people interested. Confused. Intrigued. Philosophy is taking in different viewpoints to expand your knowledge of life and the universe. Philosophy is trying to find an answer, and either accepting that there is no answer, or choosing what you will believe for yourself.
Though this perhaps only gives a basic idea of what philosophy is, the more time I spend studying philosophy, the more formed my ideas will become. Comment your ideas, opinions, or questions below!