I have been thinking lately about just what a philosopher is and if I might be one?
Let’s study this topic some. Philosophy is most often thought of as a high-browed occupation . When most of us who are at least educated in the fundamentals think of philosophy we think of Aristotle, or Plato.
Wiki says Philosophy is: the study of the general and fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language and breaks it down into several sub-fields of Philosophy of history, Philosophy of language, Philosophy of law, Philosophy of mind, Philosophy of religion, Philosophy of science, and Philosophy of Philosophy called Metaphilosophy
Does any of this stuff describe me? I am definitely not high-browed; you would insult me to call me that. I am definitely not studied in any of the sub-fields.
When I googled “modern-day philosophers” a rather long list came up. The youngest on that list was born in 1905. So at least according to some of the “experts” its been a hundred years or so since we have had a “real” philosopher. Maybe I should be looking elsewhere for just what a philosopher is. Let’s go to the plain old dictionary definition:
the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
Using this I can personally see all kinds of modern philosophers. That list certainly includes on of my heroes Will Rogers. I think Garrison Keillor is probably included here. Do you need to have a formal education to put the label philosopher as a tag to describe yourself?
One of my prime philosophies in life I got from Albert Einstein when he said “Question Everything”. That seems to be a core quality of a philosopher. I try to be rational in all my writings. I think most times I am successful but sometimes not. It seems that most of my questions are around how we exist on this earth and especially how we treat each other. I got a lot of thoughts on that topic.
Questioning conventional wisdom or knowledge is also towards the top of my agenda here at RJ’sCorner. To me conventional wisdom is what keeps so many of us confined to the small box that has been put around us by others and especially by ourselves. Conventional wisdom is almost always backward looking. It seems to often stifle creative thought.
Ethics, well that is another thought. It is about things based on the idea of right and wrong. The problem is whose right and wrong are being used.
So, I think I am a pretty good match for the dictionary definition of philosopher. Maybe I am a “country bumpkin philosopher” or maybe just a “backwoods philosopher”. Maybe I could call myself a “Jack-of-all-trades philosopher”? I will have to think about this a while before I come to any conclusions but up front I think I deserve the title philosopher at one degree or another…