Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Downside of Being a Part-Time Philosopher

As some of you know, I have a philosophy minor and a mild interest in some aspects of the subject.  I have never really focused on it, except when discussing it with a Socrates Cafe group I was in back in college, and I never really thought about the downside of having any interest in the subject.  Worse yet, the downside is also the best thing about it.

When you take more than a couple of philosophy classes, your mind starts to change.  This change allows you to look at multiple sides of an argument and see the pros and cons of each.  This is perhaps that best benefit of philosophy as it lets you have a better chance at taking a more rational side in a debate while giving you insight to any other side.  The downside is that, as EVERYTHING has pros and cons, it can sometimes be difficult to take any side at all.

This dilemma can stay with you until you take many more philosophy classes (I didn't, so this is mostly a hypothesis), you can better determine your personal philosophical framework.  This cannot happen without reading and writing a LOT of philosophy, which is what the philosophy major is all about.  A minor, if done well, can give you a lot of insight to your particular focus (I took a wide variety of classes, but stuck with the philosophies of mind and knowledge the most), but not the complete toolset needed to truly think as a philosopher.

Moral of the story:  don't drown in philosophy.

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