Monday, June 2, 2008

The Philosopher's Challenge

It's summer, we're philosophers, so let's get to doing some philosophy. I heard some tales a while ago about a group of heroic young philosophers who sat down and decided to write out what they thought about everything. Well, not about literally everything, but about every major discipline of philosophy: metaphysics, ethics, metaethics, aesthetics, epistemology, logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of law, and so forth.

I want to do this. And I want to do this with other people. Here's what I propose: each week, each of us writes a brief essay explaining our position in one discipline and post it here. Y'know, metaphysics week, ethics week, etc. We post on Sunday, all ritual-like, it'll be great! Then we have all week to read others' work and comment on it, as well as compose our next piece. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." The point of this is not to discover any ultimate Truth, but to figure out just what the hell we believe (or at least make something up) in order to get it out there, get the question raised, and then start examining and refining those beliefs, opinions, and reasoning processes. And if you don't have a well-thought-out opinion on something, then write out your poorly-thought-out one, and then you can browse the opinions of others and even start looking into the subject more deeply - in other words, be not afraid of thinking stupid thoughts, but of letting them remain stupid.

The goal at the end will be to have a little piece of paper which, in principle, may be framed and hung above one's desk/bed/sink/etc. - in much the same fashion that an embroidered aphorism might be hung in more plebeian households - and whenever a tenet of your philosophy is altered, you update that little piece of paper. So who's with me? C'mon, everybody! It'll be fun! I promise!

Week 1: Metaphysics.
Due-or-Die date:
June 8th.

Let's rock!

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