Sunday, February 8, 2009

Metamedia and philosophy

I don’t know if philosophy is for me, I don’t really like questioning for the sake of questioning. Many found excitement in asking questions about what constitutes personal identity: where does a sense of self come from; how does it change; how can we be responsible for who we are; how do we successfully examine ourselves; and what comes of such examination? But then what? What were they to do with what they discovered?

I continue to struggle with the notion of philosophy’s usefulness. What is philosophy supposed to do? Why does it matter? Even college philosophy majors are often at a loss when asked these questions. appears to be “precise knowledge about useless stuff”. I am suspicious of philosophy, unsure of its power and my own, even when I naturally feel drawn to the “big” questions.

On the other hand philosophy is taking the time and finding the courage and patience to examine and organize our most basic assumptions and ways of thinking. Organized thought, in turn, makes for coherent and effective communication and action. This philosophy is something we all can do and naturally want to do. Young adults are especially hungry for it.

Philosophical questions are not made for the sake of questioning. These questions are asked because the condition of our lives is intimately connected to them. Plato’s Republic demonstrates how asking questions can lead to learning how to ask better questions, how to evaluate answers, how to improvise answers, how to determine how far questions can go, and how to have fun doing it. Philosophy can lead attentive mind to explore how to think, speak, and live effectively.

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