Thursday, April 7, 2011

What am I doing?

This harder than it looks. Define what you are doing right now. Define it by doing, but while you do that try and clearly define the boundary of something as big as philosophy. Hmmf. Hit a wall. Yeah, I know. The problem with the "love of wisdom" is that wisdom demands much from us. A look to what it means to be wise offers no consolation...

A good wise person is someone that is convinced by good arguments only, or can, say, philosophy find wisdom in artistic and creative expressions in art and literature? Should a philosopher be poetic or rational? Maybe both? Should a philosopher only be concerned with science since science is an exemplar about how we ought to know? Should philosophy be none of this, but a type of systematic thinking that reveals the weakness of various systems of belief and ideology? Should philosophy talk about clearly delineated problems with a logical structure, or should such structure be recognized as a movement away from what phenomenologists call "lived-experience" or what Dewey called "the Problems of Men"? Should philosophy assume its problems in light of a standpoint capable of universal and transcendent conceptual knowledge, or should philosophers be wise to their limits and construe the possible interpretations of philosophy as historically-mediated? Should philosophers strive for objectivity, or should they recognize this as impossible? Should philosophy be based in anyone area of concern first like epistemology and then do other things like metaphysics, ethics etc? Should philosophy be a conversation between the historical formation of my background knowledge and my present lived-experience? Should we move away from phenomenology's attention to the sense-formation of meaning in consciously lived experience and merely trace out the consequences of an idea itself? Are their biases in philosophy that have gendered its possibility? Should philosophy recognize it is a product of social forces of power? Should philosophy seek to only critique various systems of thought? Should philosophy concern itself only with the emancipation of human beings from domineering social, political and economic ideologies? Should philosophy be based in reason and oppose faith? Should philosophers be faithful, or should philosophers expose an oversimplification between faith and reason?

In essence, the questions are many and you can imagine many wise people asking these questions.

The only thing I can fathom I am actually doing as a philosopher is asking questions and using my intellectual imagination to address these questions. The questions are big and small. Some of these questions I don't ask, but some of my fellow colleagues do.

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