The intangible nature of philosophy
- What is philosophy?
From the last two weeks in class, my understanding of philosophy continues to grow from the ideas expressed in class, as well as the articles we discussed, all of which have captured my curiosity and driven me into a realm of questioning. When I think of philosophy, I think of its intangible nature and fluidity when it’s explored in conversation, eternally morphing. The conversations we had in class are a good example of how we expressed our ideas and noticed them develop, challenged by different perspectives and strengthened by others. In the article “Talk with me,” by Nigel Warburton, John Stuart Mill elaborates on the importance of challenging an idea,
“…he argued for the immense value of dissenting voices. It is the dissenters who force us to think, who challenge received opinion, who nudge us away from dead dogma to beliefs that have survived critical challenge, the best that we can hope for.”
I think it is often our reaction to disapproval that tests the strength of our ideas, whether they emerge stronger, or disintegrate. In class we are free to express our thoughts and be direct with our beliefs, and appreciate our collective participation and engagement in the conversation, which starts and ends with questions. Our ideas are cultivated in a space of unity, where they are born and shared from inspiration, influence, and varied perspectives. Ideas endure an eternal transformation which is witnessed by both listeners and those engaged in conversation as they challenge, develop, and reflect change. At its core, I think philosophy triggers ideas that are beyond a quest for truth, or concrete answers, beyond learning fact and confirmed evidence of realities.
“The point of philosophy is not to have a concrete range of facts at your disposal, …it is to develop the skills and sensitivity to be able to argue about some of the most significant questions we can ask ourselves, questions about reality and appearance, life and death, god and society.”
Defined as “the love of wisdom,” philosophy takes root in the heart, through the passion for life and making the most of our own experiences, individual perspectives, and the meaning we attempt to unveil from our thoughts and ideas when we express them and feel them grow. Essentially I believe philosophy cultivates curiosity and deepens a love of exploring the extremities of our mind.
“These are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we are discussing how to live.” – Socrates
Some of my personal goals for this course include carefully studying the assigned material to have a better understanding of it and be prepared for class discussions, participating in conversations by expressing my ideas clearly and being open to criticism, and being aware of how the ideas that are expressed may echo or conflict with personal beliefs, for possible insight. I would like to leave this course being more comfortable in an environment without instructions or a manual for success, have an increased sense of awareness of different perspectives in relation to my own, and a better understanding of the significance of questioning without seeking concrete answers.