A personal or moral philosophy is an idea about how one should live, or how one should act. Often we will hear a person state that their philosophy about life is to “live it to the fullest” or to “take the bull by the horns” or any number of clichés. The usage of the word philosophy by these people, while correct by definition, differs from the word so closely associated with the great thinkers of our past, present and future. Philosophy, as it means to those in the quest for knowledge, the meaning of life, and the truth of all things, has a much greater, but much less concise meaning. I would say that the grand definition of philosophy is the relentless pursuit of truth and the intentional ignorance of preconceived notions and common sense in order to validate the search for that truth.
On the subject of the intentional ignorance of preconceived notions, it is generally difficult for humans to ignore their own beliefs and accepted truths for the purpose of argument. If we are to ask questions about the meaning of life to someone who is deeply spiritual and religious, we are likely to get answers which indicate this lifestyle choice. We may be referred by Christians to the Bible which states, “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” (Isaiah 43:17) That is to say that most Christians believe our purpose on earth is to honor God and worship him and to accomplish what he wishes of them. Atheists may argue that there is no purpose to life and that we are simply “the product of millions of years of an unpurposed evolution.” (Lewis, 1954)
These explanations of the meaning of life could be true, or not, but the fact is that e...
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... but as a challenge. A philosopher may look at a question like a puzzle: each question is another piece of the final answer, and each brings about another potential problem to solve. I offer that there would be nothing more detrimental to the study of philosophy than a book with the answers to all of life’s questions. While we may colloquially define our moral philosophy as the way we choose to live our life, a philosopher lives his life to ask, to listen, and to offer answers until he finds one that cannot be clearly rejected and to reject the answers of others until his argument against theirs is the weaker of the two.
Lewis, J. (1954). An atheist manifesto. New York: Freethought Press Association.
Plato, & In Woohead, W. D. (1953). Socratic dialogues: Containing the Euthyphro, the Apology. the Crito, the Phaedo and the Gorgias. Edinburg: Nelson.
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