Words That A Philosopher May Avoid

JANKI SANTOKE Jul 04, 2015.

Here are some words which are unlikely to be part of the vocabulary of a philosopher:

1 Obviously: A good philosopher never says something is obviously so. Nothing in the world is obvious. If it is, it may not be right. For centuries, it was ‘obvious’ to humankind that the earth was stationary! There are always reasons for and reasons against. One doesn’t find children using this word. Only adults use it. Children are always open to possibilities! As Einstein said, “Common sense is the sum total of prejudices acquired by age 18.”

2 Belief and Faith: ‘This is my belief and it is not open to argument.’ Knowledge ends when a person takes this stance. True faith or belief is based on rational grounds. Otherwise, it is blind faith. One must reason as far as one can. Beyond that, one makes a postulation. That leap is called faith. Faith must necessarily exist in ignorance. When there is knowledge, faith is unnecessary. When you know, you don’t need to believe. Faith is required to gain knowledge, to begin the journey, and not end it. Its end must be knowledge. To gain knowledge, investigate into what one believes in, open to the possibility of being wrong.

3 Should: A philosopher sees things as they are. That is her skill. In this there is no place for ‘should.’ Things are the way they are. Not the way we think they should be. This is known as objectivity. To see things as they are as opposed to what our rigid views on the matters are. The world runs on cause-effect. As the cause, so the effect. Things can be no different from what their causes were. One can of course try to change them. But even so, one will have to know what the current situation is and what will bring the desired effect. A philosophy student cannot afford the luxury of saying, ‘she shouldn’t be doing that’ or ‘shouldn’t be saying that’. People are simply the way they are and there is not much use expecting beings to be different from what they are.

4 Exclusive: For those using philosophy as a means for self-development and Self-realisation, the word ‘exclusive’ raises a red flag. Mature, developed people are inclusive, not exclusive. They see no pride in saying ‘only’ — “Only these people will I love, only these things will I do, only these thoughts will I entertain, only I can do this….” A philosopher is not embarrassed to admit that she knows not. It is the quest of philosophers to find the truth and nothing but the Truth.

One Response to Words That A Philosopher May Avoid

  1. S.Lakshminarayanan says:

    Nice, clear,crisp and educative. Namaskars

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