But actually, what is philosophy? – Hana Tyndall
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing
Nobody really knows anything. How can you determine that you have discovered everything about a subject? Since we are still finding scientific, biological, and even philosophical discoveries today (and most likely continuing to find more in the future) at what point do you decide that we have found everything there is to know about a topic? When someone says they’re an expert on a given subject – the wiser person would admit they don’t actually know that thing. When you think you “know” something it is really just your understanding on the facts and empirical evidence you have gathered on that particular topic.
Confused yet? Same. My first two weeks in philosophy were exactly the opposite of what I had in mind. I once thought that philosophy was going to have an easy range of topics that would be mastered fairly quick (oh man its shocking how wrong I was). Philosophy is all about getting you to rethink your whole perspective. It’s all about doubting and going against what you once thought was the right answer. It’s second guessing what you take for granted and understanding why the world functions the way it does today. It’s understanding a deeper meaning to questions and being open to other ideas and opnions. Without philosophy you can’t realize that most of our life is unconscious repetition. With philosophy you become aware of these patterns and are able to thoroughly examine them.
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate
– Carl Jung
Since I already left these first two weeks confused and with questions hanging, setting goals for the rest of the semester won’t be too hard. Actually achieving them will be the hard part. But I think with every lesson we do and new article we discuss, I will be building skills that help me do so. With that in mind, here are the goals I have set:
- Be able to vocally express my thoughts
- Improve the formation of my opinion/perspective
- Discover the non-analytical side of myself
- Re-evaluate what is important to me & encounter new ideas
- Improve vocabulary and awareness/knowldege of topics under discussion
I thought the “Talk With Me” article by Nigel Warburton was a good introduction to philosophy. Before reading the article I truly believed philosophy was best discovered when one is in solitary and undisturbed by others. Though this may be true, the philosophers mentioned in this passage all needed someone to critique and collide with their ideas. That’s when I realized philosophy was going to be an eye-opening class where I am going to be challenged and develop new skills daily. From this one passage I have already learned that conversation is king, audible non-verbal aspects humanise philosophy, imagined critics were less forceful than an argument with a real person, and technology can’t provide the same criticism as face to face conversation. I have also learned that the definitions of knowledge and wisdom are often confused (as I have mixed them up myself). Knowledge is what is understood about a subject whereas wisdom is knowing what to do with knowledge (as well as its limits). I’m excited to see what the rest of the – hopefully – successful semester will bring and try to not get too confused by the topics being discussed