What does it mean to be philosophical?

I read a quote this morning from Peter Singer:

It is better to consider philosophy as a method of inquiring into very fundamental questions that do not yield to the methods of science. In the Western tradition, since the time of Plato, this method can be characterized by a form of relentless questioning, in which the answer to one question only leads to a further question, and so on, and on and on. Readers of Plato will know what I mean. And so will parents of small children. Do some of us as we age just stop asking questions?

Why does daddy hit Moma?

Science fells to give an answer but a child will only wonder at the agency of man against another and will begin to form a point of view based upon questioning.

Why can’t I play in the street?

Because you will get ran over, it’s not safe- there are cars driven by people bent on getting from point a to point b.

The above is an example of indoctrinating fear into our children.

To add value to the inquiry would require addressing the child to find the answer: Why do you think you cannot play in the street?

Why do I have to go to bed when everyone else is up?

Because I say so…because I believe that your faculty to make good decisions has not been fully developed…because this is a dictatorship and you will do as I say.

What is a dictatorship?

It’s me telling you to go to bed.

I don’t want to.

We all must at one point do what we don’t want to…

Why? Why must we do what we don’t want to?

That child’s reasoning is the birth of philosophy.



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