Philosophy begins with wonder, a search for unity of knowledge, and the desire to answer the general questions of life. The main questions are concerning “what if?” and asking the powerful question “why?” Questioning the familiar and challenge “accepted wisdom” is the nature of philosophy.
“Why?” is the most profound question in the human language that reveals hidden assumptions and exposes the rationale of conclusions.
Philosophy holds the desire for synthesis and integration, and “put[s] all of the pieces together.”
Philosophy is driven by the desire to evaluate principles of thought and reality in our universe. Its outcome is to make human existence more intelligible. It is a personal responsibility to ask many questions, find out the meaning of life and find purpose.
In order to learn and “do” philosophy, one must try to be a critical thinker.
This is a list of skills a critical thinker possesses:
Qualities of a critical thinker:
-Open-minded- In discussions, he or she listens carefully to every viewpoint and evaluats each perspective carefully and fairly.
-Knowledgeable- Opinions are based on facts and evidence. If there is lack of knowledge on a subject, he or she acknowledges this.
-Mentally active- Takes initiative and actively uses intelligence to confront problems to meet challenges, instead of passively responding to events.
-Curious- Explores situations and questions beneath the surface issues, instead of being satisfied with superficial explanations.
-Independent thinkers- Unafraid to disagree with a group opinion. Develops well-supported beliefs through thoughtful analysis, instead of uncritically “borrowing” beliefs from others.
-Skilled discussants- Is able to discuss ideas in an organized and intelligent way. Even when issues are controversial, he or she listens carefully to opposing viewpoints and responds thoughtfully.
-Insightful- Is able to get to the heart of the issue and problem. Others may be distracted by details. He or she is able to zero in on the core and see the “forest” as well as the “trees.”
-Self-aware- Awareness of own biases and quick to point them out. Takes this into consideration when analyzing a situation.
-Creative- Breaks out of established patterns of thinking and approaches situations from an innovative directions.
-Passionate- Has a