26 June 2011

My Philosophy on Philosophy (ad infinitum)

When people hear that I am majoring in Philosophy they give me this incredulous look and always ask “And what do you plan on doing with that?” In that tone of voice that just screams wariness. Officially I am just majoring in philosophy so that I can get into a graduate program... Un-officially, I am going to use philosophy to, how say, guide my life.

I make that last statement with a healthy dose of trepidation for the simple fact that what I mean when I say that I will use philosophy to guide my life is almost definitely not what you understand when I say such a thing. Language is a funny thing like that, it doesn’t always fulfill it’s purpose of conveying meaning like you want it to. Luckily for me, I understand that language is finicky like that and so I can try to elaborate and put into context my misleading statements so that you can understand what the heck I actually mean.

First off let me talk about what Philosophy means to me. In my opinion, everyone is a philosopher, wither they like it or not. Everyone is trying to find some form of Knowledge, or at the very least, some set of beliefs by which to run their lives. This set of beliefs in a whole can be called by different names, a paradigm, a lifestyle, or in my terms, a personal philosophy. Everyone has a personal philosophy even though many do not actively recognize it is there and/or have not found a way to articulate what their personal philosophy consists of.

Everyone develops their personal philosophy through their lives in different ways and at different times. A lot of people are taught a philosophy via their religion or culture and they stick with it. A personal philosophy consists of lots of various aspects, for example, one develops an Epistemological view, which is to say, one develops a means for determining how they individually “Know” something, and what can be “known.” Everyone has different and varying views when it comes to this subject. Some people decide that knowledge is acquired through life experience, others believe knowledge to come from scientific testing, still others believe that knowledge comes from some sort of Authority. Another example is that most people have some idea of how a “perfect society” would work, or they don’t believe in a perfect society all together, This constitutes their Political Philosophy. Some people believe that communism is the way to go, others believe in “good old American capitalism” and so forth and so on. Once again, sometimes people don’t know how to articulate or describe their ideas of the perfect society. None the less, most everyone has a few opinions on the subject of how to run society.

So now back to my original statement. I am going to use Philosophy to guide my life. Do I need to major in the subject in order to do so? Not really. As I just explained above, everyone has their own philosophy, in a sense, everyone already does use philosophy to guide their lives. So then why do I study philosophy. A large part of life is interacting with other people. The more I understand about other philosophies, the more I will be able to intuitively grasp the individual philosophies of the individuals around me, and thus I will understand others more. This isn’t to say that I will agree with everyone’s individual philosophies, because as a matter of fact, I have my own reasons for sticking to my own personal philosophy, just like everyone else. But I hope to be able to set aside my own comprehension in order to better function with those around me.

Thus my life will be guided by philosophy. Not just my own, but by the influence of the philosophies of everyone around me. This is the reason I consider philosophy to be important.


12 June 2011

The Philosophy board

I live on the third floor of an old Victorian home. There are two windows in the room where I sleep and they face respectively east and north. This means that, effectively, it is a struggle to sleep in past 6:30 in the summer because sunlight pours through my window about that time, not to mention that my landlord owns chickens who begin to cluck wildly at about the same time.

So this morning, unable to sleep in, I prepared and restlessly made my way to church 30 minutes early, a feat that made me grumble in my previous ward. Due to the fact that I had nothing better to do for 30 minutes and the fact that my church meets in the basement of one of the university buildings, I began to meander the halls and read the various posters on all the department bulletin boards. Most of the postings were for scholarships that I couldn't qualify for, or study abroad programs that I wasn't interested in, but then I came across the Philosophy department board (which I might add was rather bare, much to my dismay, as I am going into the philosophy program for an undergrad) I found on the Philosophy board a notice regarding a convention that was being held somewhere out in Poland about how to fight against the philosophy of Nihilism (click for wiki article).

And that long exposition was just to tell you this.

I really love philosophy. There is stuff about it that I hate, like the fact that there has to be a thought experiments that produce philosophies like extreme Nihilism or Solipsism. But on the whole I love to delve into the paradoxes of our every day living and yet somehow figure out some way to get out unscathed.

Also, it gave me the idea that I should go back through some of the basic philosophic questions and begin defining for myself what my stances on those subjects are and why. And so I came up with a rather extensive list of terms, phrases, or concepts that I am going to be delving into one at a time. Philosophy really is a fascinating subject. If you don't believe me, look at the Wiki article on Philosophy. It's Huge. Also, a little tidbit of info, if you haven't tried this already, Go to Wikipedia and click random article, then click the first link that appears in the article that isn't italicized or in (parentheses), then repeat clicking the first non Italicized non parenthetical link in every succeeding article and you will eventually land yourself on the philosophy page. I am not joking. Try it.

We used to do soapbox nights at a friends house. I think we are going to start that up again.

05 June 2011

Returning to the writing desk.

As many of you know, I like to write. However sometimes I lack the motivation or direction to write. Life currently feels busy. I have work, I am trying to focus on getting things prepared for school. There are girls to date and a focus on trying to get married. Etc, occasionally it is hard to find time to sit and write. And normally when I write I don't get more than a page out. This can be frustrating. But I finally did it this week. I wrote in various works three to four nights this week. I hope to keep this going, (though it is going to have a premature break this next week due to a week long backpacking trip)

I am quite pleased with what little writing I have accomplished. I feel that I am getting back in touch with the characters that I have loved and developed so much.

I recently passed my 8600 days old mark last Sunday. So far the 8600's have been off to a good start. I have been writing, I am living in a new apartment. I am going on this backpacking trip. I have been invited by a friend to join a small role play which I hope will be able to keep me in the writing mood. Things are just going well. I am happy. Let it not change for quite some time. And should it change, may there be friends there to lift me back up again.