The Philosophical Imperative: Truth and Reason

I find it amazing that so many people are content in their lives having accepted certain things as true and refusing to re-examine their beliefs out of pride or stubbornness. It has been my experience that, at some point, many people simply stop questioning the things they have come to accept as fact/truth. I would argue that this is where engaging in philosophical discussions becomes most important of all. It either solidifies the truth, rationality, and reason of important matters, or refutes it.

Many people throw words around freely, but have only vague concepts of what they actually mean. For example, I often hear others talk about their own “personal philosophy”. After some discussion, it generally becomes apparent that what they actually mean is their outlook on life and not actually a strict philosophical system. While this is an acceptable use of the word, I have to be cautious about people who throw the word around without much thought. Definitions then become critical to the conversation in order for it to continue in any effective way. This can be particularly difficult when the person with whom you are speaking has never been taught critical thinking or logic (most schools and parents I know teach no such coursework).

If you care that what you believe is true, then it is not an option to stop examining your beliefs. We have this ability as children. Children are born philosophers and questioners! But if you are like most people, you stopped questioning at some point, decided to give in to what you were being taught, and simply accepted certain things as true or correct. Traditionally in America it has been our parents, teachers and churches who have been the most prevalent institutions in the development of young minds. They have fed us what most of us now believe as adults. Are you comfortable re-examining what you believe? Most people have a hard time doing so, particularly after years and years of indoctrination.

I sincerely hope that readers of this blog will heed a wake-up call: never stop questioning! This is the essence of philosophy and truth-seeking, and it is only too late when you decide that you will stop doing so and blindly accept things without examination.

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