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Philosophy - Essay Example

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2) The first great philosopher, Socrates, thought of philosophy as a process of critical self-examination, the purpose of which is to arrive at the correct principles of judging, choosing and acting. Do you think that Socrates’ approach to philosophy is as useful today as it was during his times in ancient Greece?…
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Philosophy

Critical self-examination is a necessary process in the achievement of self-knowledge, wisdom and virtue – elements that are crucial in arriving at correct judgments, decisions and behavior. This strategy is akin to an inductive approach at learning the truth. An exposition of a Delphic inscription, “Know thyself,” it provided an effective and universally applicable framework by which any individual, regardless of the period, time or circumstance he or she is in, could use in a quest for truth. The process should be able to demonstrate its merits and the claim that it is very much relevant today. The first step, explained Fuller, in knowing oneself is “to perceive how superficial and ignorant and prejudiced one really was” (62). The argument is that wisdom and the ability of discernment can only result as a consequence of an individual’s capacity to understand his surroundings. He or she will never be able to do so if he does not understand himself. For example, failure to identify bias taints ones ability to make objective and just decisions and correct choices. He can never claim righteousness or self-knowledge if he did not pass through the stage of humble realization and recognition of his ignorance – important variables in one’s desire and motivation to learn. ...
In this regard, man cannot be considered as a mere vessel and receptacle of knowledge and experience. Discernment is required in order to effectively use the data and experience that people accumulate in order to identify truth from the fallacious. A person can examine oneself – his beliefs, values, thoughts and ideas – in various ways. The diversity in the approaches further shows how the self-examination guide and enhance our abilities to judge, decide and act. Besides self-evaluation and assessment, men can reflect on certain aspects of their acts and thoughts through conversation with other people or through the intercourse of the mind. Each mind has unique ways of acquiring and interpreting meanings. Reflections on one’s own conversation with others can help to examine and stimulate his capacity to be critical of one self and accepting of what is the truth. It is, hence, clear that without self-examination, a person would be ignorant and incapable to think and do what is right. In instances where this may not be true, his personal biases will cloud his ability to discern and acknowledge the truth. Unfortunately, this is aggravated by the tendency of ignorant men to become arrogant, which makes the whole affair tragic. Our circumstance might have changed since Socrates’ time. However, human nature is still the same – we are rational human being capable of rational judgments. People today just like the citizens of Athens cannot realize their full capacity to decide, choose and act correctly without self-knowledge. 8. Do you think that Hobbes is correct in denying that there is such a thing as free will? What was the basis ... Read More
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