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Philosophical Reevaluations

October 11, 2015

It is all too easy to get stuck in a rut philosophically. It is never easy to be genuinely open to new ideas. Yes, kids are sponges, open to anything. But as such they are vulnerable and as easily influenced by misguided ideas as by valid ideas. It is only with maturity, and through developing our powers of thought that we can become a harsh, but fair critic of the ideas presented to us.

This is what philosophy is all about. It is not simply being open, anymore than it is simply being closed to argument and debate, committed to a system or school of thought dogmatically. It is about having the ability to reassess and reevaluate basic premises when good reasons and arguments are presented to you. It is about not rushing to get angry when your cherished premises are questioned, and reacting blindly, as if a debate is merely an argument to be won. Little more than a mental battlefield of assertion and counter assertion.

This view of affairs is the natural presumption of the lazy mind. But we must fight this laziness, and strive to be willing to accept reevaluations of our beliefs. Loudness and persistence of assertion is not a sign of a well reasoned argument, but quite the opposite. To philosophise is quite often to work against some of our basic human instincts, this is what makes it hard work.

And this is why I have in the past emphasised the importance of the spiritual aspect to philosophy. This can help us to avoid attachment to some premises and so be open for a reasonable debate. But also there does remain certain key points of logic and methodology that we need to keep sight of. Witholding judgment on a topic is a difficult and complicated art form in itself. Lets hope that we don’t let this art be lost for the sake of simple, quick judgments on complicated things in the name purely of winning shallow arguments.

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