Questions and Wonder

Philosophy is about what we don’t know; philosophy is about real questions. Real questions are inquiries about one’s self and/or the world where the participants in the question don’t know the answer. Questions like these are voyages of discovery. If you already know, then philosophy will be superfluous, for you will have no need to question what you already know. It is in the domain of questions and wondering about them that philosophy emerges. The key to that door is in the breadth and depth of your capacity to wonder. The measure of your wondering will guide the intensity, sophistication and subtlety of your questions and thereby the depth of your philosophy.

The difference of your wonder as an adult compared to your childhood wondering is in your capacity for greater depth and richer, more variegated and subtle experience. Children get excited, but it is mostly a surface response for their experience is not yet rich and extensive enough to absorb and create the depth that comes from having “been around the block a few times” as the cliché suggests. Some of the things I still wonder about is where the world came from, if indeed it came from anywhere or rather was always here. I wonder how fish can breathe under water, why are sunsets so endlessly different and unerringly beautiful. I wonder whether there is life after death, how the brain enables us to think with such extraordinary complexity, what are the true and real differences between men and women, how our memories work. I wonder how we can claim to know something. Is there any certainty about what we know? How do we decide what is right versus what is wrong? What does it mean to be logical? These are but a small sampling of the wonderings that are so powerful in my life. What do you wonder about?


About The Practical Philosopher

I am a retired Philosophy professor. I taught philosophy for 43 years, and I would like to share some of what I have found pursuing the fascinating journey of philosophy.
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