A Philosopher’s First Birthday

Well, a year ago today the How To Be A Philosopher blog was born. Ten monthly editions, two special editions, and an interlude later and fellow philosophers we celebrate our first birthday! Hip Hip Hooray! Thank you regular readers — your sincere curiosity and quiet approval makes this ongoing project so worthwhile for me.

The story so far:

Beginning with Philosophy is Dead! I showed why philosophy is not so dead, and actually touches our everyday every day. (Hello to those hot young baristas — I no longer slow sip my long blacks in anonymity, but get my coffee with dash of philosophical conversation.)

In Know Thyself not only did I deliver my guiding principle of philosophical practice ‘What are we doing, and why are we doing it?’ but also what I think is still my very best line…

Imagine it, philosophy departments the world over filled with pipe-puffing, slipper-wearing, armchair-bound, Indian Joneses all seeking out this holy grail ‘truth.

Then, straight up, we (i.e., you) did some philosophy. We asked philosophical powerhouse Daniel Dennett ‘what was he doing and why was he doing it?’ And before we got above ourselves, in No Arguing Here, I made clear the difference between being a philosopher and being a dick.

Next I revealed that I am pretty ignorant. But, wisely employed, that it is not all bad for being a philosopher. In the double bill The Rights and Wrongs of Ignorance, First the Wrong set out that problem with the wilful ignorance, then Now The Rights showed us the value of philosophical ignorance.

Perhaps the most important point I have made in this whole blog has been to undermine the idea that ‘Yeah, but I’m not smart enough’ to be a philosopher. If there is a requirement, any demand, for a philosophical life, it is to love it. (I hope you are learning to love it, too.)

Perhaps the most difficult point I have been trying to make is that The Virtuous Change Their Mind. Changing our mind is hard! And I am slowly working through how to go about it. To start with it requires listening, really listening. The Art of Listening asked us to be curious, and imitate ideas, like a child. Beware of Philosophers bearing Trojan Horses allayed the fear of imitating of bad ideas and warned that the real worry is to never inhabit any ideas for yourself.

By far my most popular post (and one of my favourites too) has been Special Edition: My Philosopher to be first posted for World Philosophy Day 2015 then reposted for International Women’s Day 2016.

While my most impassioned has been Special Edition: How to be a philosopher during #Brexit fallout. Sadly the fallout here in the UK continues.

Having taken a (northern hemisphere) summer break — no August post — next time (October post), I continue on about mind changing with ‘I don’t know anything about…but I know what I like!’ There I shall look at liking, knowing, and how likes help change our mind.

READER REQUESTS PLEASE! If you have any suggestions, impatient thoughts, burning desires, frustrating confusions, that you would like me to discuss in future posts, please let me know. And comments always welcome. This is a philosophical conversation after all.

Finally, I thought this an indulgent opportunity to again share this brilliance from Calvin & Hobbes — philosophers extraordinaire!

Calvin & Hobbs Jan HtbaPhilos


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