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March 8, 2020 / Congau

Why Ask Why?

Philosophy is searching for questions. The world is such a strange place, that can be felt intuitively, but only when a question is formulated, do we become explicitly aware of the strangeness. We must find the “why?” before we can attempt to answer it.

We have learned the difference between right and wrong; at least we think we have, but until we have asked why it is so, we risk being mistaken even before we have made the mistake. Isn’t is a shame to be in error from the very start and take things for granted that may be utter illusions. We pity mental patients who are delusional about reality, but if we don’t ask questions, we may be in such a state ourselves.

We may not find an answer to why things are the way they are, and we can never find one that we can be a hundred percent certain about, but when asking questions we may start approaching the truth and that is clearly better than having no truth at all. Imagining something to be true without having any reason for it, is the worst kind of ignorance even if it happens to be true.

That being said, the Socratic philosopher is never content with merely asking questions. Philosophy is the search for truth and even when knowing full well that complete certainty cannot be reached, the quest for an answer doesn’t stop.

The Socratic method of asking questions is directed towards the truth. Philosophy is not a sport engaged in amusing questioning scoring points for absurd notions. A question that no one attempts to answer has no value.

Still, a question necessarily precedes an answer and in that sense the question is of superior interest. We must ask why before we can ever hope to know why.

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