I was listening to Freakonomics Radio this week and heard philosopher Scott Hershovitz say that philosophy is the art of thinking. It was actually one of his young children who gave that definition.
He said that kids are all natural philosophers. They ask questions like, “Why is the sky blue? Why does a lemon taste sour and sugar taste sweet?”
Then as adults, we tend to stop marinating those thoughts. We are full steam ahead. We are inclined to follow societal norms and accept the current answers and the ways of doing things.
In fact, when it comes to education, 1 in 100 bachelor’s degrees in 1970 were in Philosophy and today it is half that number. We are tasked with learning different topics.
But what is the value of thinking? Questioning? Researching? Looking for things that prove our opinion wrong?
Isn’t that how we grow?
As the Greek philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
And British philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know.”
How important is what we don’t know to how we live? And how do we go about finding out what we don’t know and then knowing something about it?
It’s hard to know.