Mark, Seth, Wes, and Dylan share what drove them into philosophy and keeps them there. How is philosophy different than (or similar to) science? Than religion? Art?
The consensus seems that philosophy, to us, is inevitable for the curious. It’s just inquiry, unbounded (in principle at least) by any fixed assumptions. While scientific and religious endeavors can be self-questioning as well, there’s a limit to that self-questioning; you have to grant some foundational principles as true (e.g. about natural laws or the existence of God) as true before you can get far enough into your inquiry to figure out what questions are still to be answered. The same is true, of course, of particular philosophic inquiries (arguably, particular sciences are just more narrowly focussed, empirical strains of philosophy; that’s certainly how the creation of sciences has played out historically), but for philosophy as a whole, nothing is off limits to questioning. So if the philosopher is ever questioning him or herself, how could that be pleasurable? How is it not nauseating? One solution: The Partially Examined Life, where you follow your intellectual conscience as best you can while accepting that you’re probably still wrong about something you’re taking for granted, and maybe you’ll figure that bit out next week.
We did no formal reading for this discussion, but did tell each other to keep in mind Plato’s “Apology.” For more information, look here.
Running Time: 1 hr., 13 min. Recorded: March 3, 2013. Participants: Mark, Wes, Seth, Dylan.
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