For most of my life, I had very little knowledge of philosophy. I regarded philosophers as little more than large toddlers; eccentric and moderately insane people who wandered around aimlessly and asked “Why?” of everything, or wizened old men in loincloths meditating atop mountains and waiting for the next curious person to ask for their sage advice. Over the course of this class I have come to realize that while philosophy is a complex subject, anyone can begin to practice it. All one needs to be an amateur philosopher is the ability to think, reason, and question the world around them.
I know of myself that I am two things, which can be seen either as being separate or related. I am a non-religious person, and I am a science-minded
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As the class went on and I spent more time pondering these questions and trying to look at them from all sides, I became increasingly frustrated. Within philosophy, there are no concrete answers. In fact, this exemplifies the very nature of philosophy. “Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know,” Bertrand Russell – my favorite philosopher – said, “…as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science.” With this, I began to realize that I could never devote my life to philosophy, because I find it extremely unsatisfying.
Every chapter in the textbook started off by presenting various ideas and theories on a topic, explaining the various facets and famous supporters. In turn, I agreed with each one, or at least saw the reasoning behind them. Then, to my unceasing frustration, the author proceeded to go through all of the reasons why each theory ultimately fails. At the end of each chapter, the reader is left with no conclusions to draw. The idea we are left with is that many people have theorized about the topic, but all were wrong.
There were many parts of the reading that made me think. Some were insightful; some were infuriating. One that I recall is a series of quotations from the chapter ‘The Case Against Free Will’. Clarence Darrow was the first lawyer to use the