Is Coming From
So is this guy/gal
just insane or what? Well, there are no
but the following points may give you some idea where your philosophy
is coming from:
more about your reasons than about whether you "get the right answer."
expected to solve all the difficult
philosophy in your first philosophy course, any more than a physics
would expect you to be able to solve all the perplexing problems of
physics during your first physics class. One thing which makes
seem so strange at first is that most people believe they have already
solved the perplexing problems of philosophy before they've ever taken
the course. For example, most people have an opinion about an issue
abortion or the existence of God, and they believe they are right. By
few people believe they have already discovered the correct answer to
most perplexing problems of physics. However, many philosophical issues
are really no easier or less complex than the most difficult problems
physics. Knowing this, philosophy professors tend to begin with the
that the answers to philosophical questions such as the existence of
or the morality of abortion are as yet unknown. Moreover, they do not
you to be able to solve them while taking your first philosophy course.
As a result,
philosophy professors tend to be more concerned
you how to philosophize, that is, how to reason well about
issues, than they are about what answer you arrive at.
This is not to say
that which answer you arrive at is
all, the whole point of doing philosophy is to discover interesting and
useful truths. But we do not expect you to be able to defend your
to philosophical questions the way someone who has thought hard about
for 20 years can.
philosopher is willing to question anything
even the methods of philosophy itself.
to be persuasive reasons which support both sides of an issue.
approach philosophical arguments with an open
you'll quickly come to see this. If you've discussed several
philosophical issues in class and you don't see this, odds are that
not giving the opposing side the credit its due. As a result, you may
see the point of discussing the views of the opposing side. If this is
the case, try being more open to opposing views. One way to do this is
to imagine that something important, e.g., winning a court case or
a great job, depends on your convincing someone of the opposing point
view. What would you say to prove to them that the view you personally
disagree with is actually true? How effective could you make your
for your view?
Proper Classroom Deportment Never Hurts
That there seem to
be persuasive arguments for opposing
sides of a view
does not prove that there is no correct view. After all, if nothing
could be said for the opposing side of an issue, it wouldn't be an
to begin with! What makes an issue an issue is that there is something
to be said for both sides.
Where it seems
that equally plausible reasons conflict, we
have an indication
that someone's reasoning has gone astray in some subtle way. The goal
be to figure out where the mistake is.
Not So Good:
Soccio, How To Get The Most Out Of
(Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2006).
Is Philosophy?" by Keith Korcz.