Do You Have To Be A Philosopher To Do Philosophy?


In a word, no, not really.  In a perfect world, everyone would do philosophy.  It would be an everyday habit, like doing dishes or walking the dog.  There are a number of great thinkers who aren’t typically associated with philosophy, but who did ask some important philosophical questions.  Here are a few examples:

  • William Shakespeare may have impressed crowds with his poetry and drama, but he also had some pretty fantastic ideas about human nature, and about where wisdom comes from.  Even the fools in his plays have some pretty interesting things to say about the meaning of life.
  • Rachel Carson spent years researching marine biology, but also wrote some very influential works on environmental philosophy.  She encouraged her readers to think like an animal in order to fully appreciate the importance of protecting the environment.
  • Albert Einstein may have been a Nobel prize winning physicist, but he never lost his sense of wonder at the mysteries of nature.  In fact, he warned that science should never be given too much authority, as humans still had a lot to learn about the universe.

Maybe the word “philosopher” just needs a little bit of a redefinition. None of these great minds mentioned above studied philosophy at an academic institutions, but they were definitely doing what philosophers do, that is, they asked philosophical questions and used logic and reasoning to find and test answers.

Is it in your child to do this sort of thing? Absolutely! Is it in you to do it with them? A resounding yes! Give it a try!