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What excites me so much about reading philosophy is the opportunity to have my beliefs and values challenged.I read philosophy to identify, clarify, and test my current beliefs and values.
A mantra of an ethics teacher of mine was “Good ethics starts with good facts”. Rather, to say that the subject matter of philosophy is immaterial is to say that questions such as “What is justice? They are answered by drawing inferences to increase the coherence among one’s set of beliefs, and, in the unusual case, deriving corollaries from (apparently) self-evident truths.
What is strange about this is that philosophy is ostensibly a truth-seeking practice.
In this form, the author defends a thesis by attempting to show that certain inferences from something uncontroversial to something surprising are plausible.
The author is also likely to try to show that attempts to prove that an inference they make fails are unsuccessful.
Instead there is reading as a philosopher, historian, cartographer, journalist, and so on.
Even within a discipline there is no single way to read.
Philosophy shows that many things which are thought true are not, but it doesn’t establish very many truths.
Philosophy is strange because it is more of a falsity shedding venture than a truth building one.
With the exception of Kant – which I knew I didn’t understand – I discovered and rediscovered each day in class that what I had done, the way I had read, did not prepare me to engage the ideas in the way that was expected of me.
As a nascent philosophy enthusiast, I was spinning my wheels.