Monday, January 7, 2013

What Philosophers Do

Sometimes, when people ask me what I do, I am a little hesitant to tell them that I am a philosophy professor.  I'm afraid to answer largely because I know that much of the time my answer makes the person who asked feel a little awkward.

I think this is because most people I meet don't know what philosophy is, or what one does with it.  So when I say what I do, they aren't sure what to say next. 

So let me tell you what I do: I ask questions, and I teach others how to do that.*

You could say I'm a professional trainer of skeptics.  I train people in curiosity.   My aim is to be like a child again in front of big ideas, and to show my students that it's alright to indulge in a little wonder.

Because we don't just learn by being given good answers; more than anything, we learn by asking good questions.


* By the way, it's a fair question to ask if you want to know how I do that. 

And it's also fair to notice that by suggesting that you ask that question I've just given you a little example of what I do.

1 comment:

  1. My friend Brian Cubbage has a related post on his blog, about philosophy as nonviolence. It's worth the time it will take you to read what he writes: