Did you Know that You are a Philosopher?

Everybody has a philosophy. You are no exception.

Maybe a better way to put it is that you have a ‘world-view’. A world-view, simply put, is a lens through which you and I view and experience “life, the universe, and everything”. It is unfortunate that many of us do not notice the lens. But it’s there all right.

Not sure? Then consider a little illustration, curtesy of a friend at church.

One day a young boy of six said to his father, “why does the world not fall down?”

To which his father explained in simple terms that the Earth orbits the Sun. He even referred to Newton’s universal law of gravitation (as he was a physics teacher).

The boy – ever inquisitive – then asked, “well, how do you know?”

His father, rubbing his hands and getting into his element, noted that many astronomers have observed this phenomenon in different parts of the sky. And these observations can be used to derive the law.

Beginning to sound like a philosopher or a good physicist, the boy then asked how astronomers could know that gravitation is a universal law?

Impressed now, the father explained that the law is constant throughout known reality (as far as we can tell, and assuming Newtonian physics for now).

Now sounding suspiciously older than six, the boy asked why this is the case. To which the father replied as best he could: he said, “it just is”.

At that point, the boy’s father revealed to his son part of his own world-view. The moment his father said “it just is”, is when we can see one of his father’s most fundamental assumptions.

Now, this simple story may not be realistic, or apply to everyone. But the point remains: we all have fundamental assumptions about reality. And that’s all they are: assumptions. And we can easily discover some of them by allowing ourselves to reach a similar stage where we must simply say, “it just is”.

What is your philosophy, what is your lens? Do you like what you discover? Are you confident in your assumptions? It is important to know what you assume, and why you assume it.

I leave you with a quote by Eric Hoffer:

“What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people’s faces as unfinished as their minds.”

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4 Responses to Did you Know that You are a Philosopher?

  1. jean verite says:

    Awesome work man, your right everybody does become overwhelm with the phenomena of the universe and eventual come to a conclusion that “it just is”. But i just want say that the world and the universe as we perceive and beleive it to be is exactly what becomes our reality. So our perception and conviction determines our experience. No wonder why they say the mind is a terrible thing to waste!!

  2. mattsj says:

    Yes, it is true that our perception determines our experience – to a certain extent. You can’t take that too far though, otherwise we get end up with solipsism. And so rejecting that, it life is worth investigation, to find the objective reality.

    Of course, as you may suspect, I believe that ultimate reality is wrapped up in God, and that objective knowledge is possible independant to experience – ie through revelation from God.

    What do you think?

  3. jean verite says:

    Very good, but whats solipism?

  4. mattsj says:

    From Wikipedia: “Solipsism is the philosophical idea that ‘My mind is the only thing that I know exists.’ Solipsism is a … position that knowledge of anything outside the mind is unjustified.”

    Which is a dead-end really.

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