Monday, April 8, 2013

Why Venture Philosophy?

Philosophy is for everyone. The anti-intellectuals would argue that philosophy is a ridiculous, unattainable thing reserved only for the privileged classes of educated elite. I say, nothing can be further from the truth. 

On YouTube, we engage in every level of philosophical debate. Simply reading the comment section, everything from  wise comments, troll-y comments, to the comments of people who believe what they want to believe rather than investigating facts - it is all philosophy. 

Philosophy is something we engage in whether we like it or not. "Does God exist?"  "Are there any absolute or universal moral principles?"  "What do ethical terms like good, bad, right, and wrong mean?"  "What is beauty?"  "What are the characteristics of a 'good' work of art?"  "From what sources do we gain our knowledge?"  "Does sensory experience provide indubitable knowledge?" and most importantly, "How Do you know what you know?" 

Even the drama is philosophy. Call it small minded, or what have you, there is still thinking going on. Thinking about the comments people leave, the actions people take or the motives behind those actions. When we peel back the drama, getting down to the bare themes, there is still thinking involved. Sure - some thinking is better than others. Some motives are less honorable than others. Regardless, we are all doing philosophy whether we like it or not.

The word philosophy comes from the Greek word 'philos', to love, and 'sophia' which means wisdom  If you love wisdom, then you love philosophy. 

Philosophy analyzes the foundations and presuppositions underlying other disciplines. If you have good philosophy, then you will be able to ascertain better than anyone else whether a statement is true or false. 

Philosophy is one of those disciplines requiring one take at least two courses at a University level. Critical thinking skills are not easily self taught. Philosophy is about knowing how to think with clarity, are there are many branches of  it out there. My favorite branch of philosophy is epistemology. I find, that basic epistemology separates the smart from the gullible.
Epistemology: How Do You Know What You Know?

This blog is Venture Philosophy because venture, means taking a risk. Venture is an undertaking involving chance and danger. I want to take chances with philosophy. My hope is that someone will make a great argument, present evidence supporting their argument, use great epistemology and in doing so - prove me wrong. To be proven wrong about something I said or wrote, is something I consider to be an honor. Who wants to be right all the time? Certainly not me. I know that I could not possibly be. 

Philosophy is for everybody. We do philosophy like we eat, drink, and convert oxygen to carbon dioxide every second of every day. The only question is - do you want to be more aware of your philosophy? As you are more aware of it, and making a greater connection to your mind and your intellectual functions, you will become better at it over time. 

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