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Philosophy and Taboo’s

September 22, 2013

This is a recent discussion post I started up on the great philosophers group.

I want to start a discussion about Philosophy and Taboo’s. The archetypal philosopher is a rationally minded person who questions the grounds and justification of all and any social taboo’s. Just like Socrates questioned and undermined taboo’s in his influence over young people. Just like Plato and Aristotle demythologized the Ancient Greek gods.

But can we take this through to its logical conclusion, and render any and every subject-matter fair game for a rational dissection and analysis? I am not sure that we can, as always new taboo’s crop up in any society. New things that become unmentionable and unquestionable.

My personal view is that we ultimately come up against limits when we start questioning things that are central to our own identity. We cannot question certain things without undermining who we are in the process. As such, I see philosophy as a great way to discover what is most essential to ourselves.

The goal of philosophy is not just to render everything profane, to remove all taboos, and be completely rational. This was a false enlightenment hope. We cannot achieve this without undermining the integrity of our selfhood.

The goal, rather, is to discover the pure source and essence that drives us in all we do in life, and to live by it and nourish it. This is philosophy not just as a scholarly pursuit, but as a way of life.

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