I realize that I have rarely written about certain aspects of philosophy in my blog postings to date. I do, however, try to find the time to examine philosophical issues that I am exposed to or think about. Philosophy is a love of wisdom. If I practice philosophy, I surely must think the thing that I love is attainable, i.e. wisdom. I think it is important to question what this existence is. Skepticism can be used as a tool to examine certain ideas. If there is reason to question, then questions should be asked in the pursuit of knowledge. Ignorance leads us down a dark path. If we can shed light on certain issues and realize the boundaries of our knowledge, we can then make more enlightened decisions.
My last blog, in which I asked if I can really know myself, was meant not as an end all be all solution to what the world around me is. It was meant to demonstrate, rather, that we usually only ever scratch the surface of things. With deeper inquiry we can realize that there is plenty about the world that we can know. For instance, I can know that I exist (Augustine, Descartes, etc.). I know that I can distinguish objects from other objects–things from other things. I know that, through experience, a person can gain vast amounts of knowledge about any given topic. I know that often the more experience a person has with something, the more they come to know that thing. I, therefore, am inclined to think that, since I have had all of my experiences with the world, I ought to know myself more than any other thing in this world. I know myself more than anything else.
However, with the skeptical view in mind, I allow myself the benefit of a sort of dialectic. I pose questions about the world and discover answers. I can, in some way, converse with the world around me. I doubt something and then I find reasons not to doubt it. The other side of the coin would be to blindly place faith that my assumptions about the world are always correct. I err. I err so many times. I make mistakes and so does everyone else in this world. Mistakes in judgment allow people the opportunity to correct the way of thinking that led to such ill judgments.
I can play the skeptic. To do otherwise might be considered foolish. Questioning the legitimacy of beliefs can have positive effects. It can lead to a better understanding about the world around us. This is a deep complicated thing, life. It deserves inquiry at every turn.
That does not mean we should be always skeptical. Once something is learned it can become a part of your knowledge about the world. At such a point as knowledge is achieved it can be utilized–it does not need to be rediscovered again and again.
When I hint towards the idea that I can never really know myself, there is so much at play. It does not mean that I cannot know things. It does not mean that I cannot know myself. It means that I cannot know every minute detail. I can, however, choose to a certain extent which details I want to know about. I cannot know it all. Nor, do I want to. What would be the fun in knowing everything? If I were to know everything, there would be no fun in learning.
~Justin Allen Philcox