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The Newcomer's Fallacy -- The Problem With Those New to Philosophy

Updated: Apr 26

An angry female student.

Ms. Tamara Moskal's Synopsis

Newcomers to philosophy can encounter a paradox within themselves: they are interested in the field but find it difficult to accept the uncomfortable truth, which is an inseparable part of philosophy. Philosophy is called the "Love of Wisdom." Love symbolizes a bond of commitment above pleasure. Loving wisdom means studying the truth, even if it's hard to contain.
In democracy, if we cancel people because we don't like their opinions or because they hurt our feelings, our interest in democracy is partial. The same applies to philosophy. In both, we must allow the optimal exchange of ideas and openness rather than depend on emotions and sensitivities.
Philosophy is a virtue embodied in an honest, moral philosopher. A devoted newcomer to philosophy genuinely wants to seek and get answers, even if they are displeasing. You must be open-minded and willing to accept the truth to avoid frustration and wasting the time of others investing in helping you.

Making Things Clear

A common hypocrisy among many newcomers to the world of philosophy, occurs when a certain paradox is entailed, aware or unaware. It's similar to the hypocrisy I detected in an article I wrote, called "The Fault in Contemporary Liberty". It's a paradox where the individual who is interested by something, also disdains from it at the same time. However, it's quite hard to know these feelings within you, when you lack the foresight to understand what you're in for.

Philosophy isn't philosophizing for its own sake, AKA "intellectual masturbation". That derails the whole practical point of the field by a strawman's fallacy. It's not like in relations that are made for pleasure. Philosophy does not have to be done from pleasure nor from love, nor from any specific emotion. In fact it's far more functional than you might think, being, you know, the "mother of all sciences".

It's called the "Love of Wisdom", per se, but whose to say "love" is exclusively about joy?

Love As an Umbrella of Virtues

"Love" symbolizes other things, other than pleasure or even willpower. As long as we love something or someone, a bond is created. A bond of commitment. And as love can expire so can the commitment that comes along with it. And whose to say commitment is done out of pleasure entirely?

No. When you are devoted to something, you are likelier to stick to it in light as well as in dark. Love and commitment aren't always joyful, and so is devotion. Devotion, in fact, is tested not when one is at their highest, but when they are at their lowest.

And I quote author Shannon Adler:

“If he can't handle you at your worst then he does not deserve you at your best".

The same applies to any activity where hardship is involved. If you want to commit to something but can't handle it when it causes you hardship, ask yourselves not if that activity is beneath you. Ask if you are not disrespecting the activity, when you say you are interested in it.

Like for those who say they are interested in democracy, they will only say they are until someone says something they do not like. Then, they will seek to cancel you and condemn you for exercising your right to voice your thoughts.

If you are repulsed by something you're interested in, you contradict yourself. You contradict yourself, because interest attracts, and repulsiveness extends distance. The question is: How can one both desire and not desire something at the same time?

Love in philosophy is also devotion to the craft, and not only fascination and wonder. If you love somebody you will be with them at their lowest. If you love wisdom you will want it even if it is hard to contain. You cannot seriously desire wisdom if you are not devoted to its reception.

Therefore, saying that you are interested in philosophy requires putting your interest to the test, to see how interested you really are in the study of the truth.

Relations Between Philosophy and Democracy

If we cancel people in a democracy because their voiced thoughts do not appeal to us, then we are only interested in democracy to an extent, and are repulsed by its other parts. Thus, our interest in democracy isn't completely honest, if we, as non-government people and organizations, seek to limit other members of society.

Thus, our interest in democracy is not full, and as such, not entirely genuine. Because we're only interested in democracy until we find out we despise what it entails. And it entails hearing thoughts we don't like or want to hear. The same rationale applies to philosophy.

Because otherwise, we are only interested in it until it hurts our feelings, when its legitimacy is exercised by other, equal members of society. No. Both in philosophy and in democracy, to allow an optimal exchange of ideas, we should learn to let go of our dependency on desire, and focus on the world beyond ourselves and its virtues. Philosophy is too a virtue, embodied in any honest philosopher whose honesty is expressed in their good traits.

Thus, when a newcomer to the field says to me that they are interested in philosophy… how genuine are they? That is the question every decent mastermind should ask themselves if they want to properly plan ahead the continuation of that relationship. Because their interest can swiftly vanish, if they lack the will to endure what they're going to be in for.

And a truly devoted newcomer would understand what every new employee should understand: Confession of devotion amounts to little if it isn't endured.

Philosophy is the study of truth. One cannot desire the truth, if they are too repulsed by it, to desire it. Desire is a capacity that is to be demonstrated and not only stated. Why study something you aren't necessarily interested in? Study takes dedication if one truly wants to become a master.

By the same token, if you asked a question, and you received an answer you didn't like, then why ask the question? Why ask the question, if you are not interested in the answer? Why ask for an explanation if you're going to condemn the other person for supplying the very content you requested?

See how our short-term thinking shoots us in the foot. It would've been laughable, if it weren't unfortunate. People "dig their own graves" because they lack this basic foresight, of needing a strong character in order to take the mantle of proper study and understanding.

And yes, understanding by itself is a complex issue, involving several components. To avoid unnecessary frustrations, be prepared to try to understand, or else the other person's time isn't worth investing on helping you.

Takeaway Insights For the Hungry Newcomer

So, next time you say you're interested in something, remember that you're interested in knowing it because you do not know what it fully means. You might not want the answer. No, you might be interested in the idea of wanting the answer. These are two different things, expectation and reality.

If you are repulsed by your search, the only person you can blame is yourself, for not being prepared enough to face what you wished for.

Why wish to study truths you don't desire? Why devote yourself to study a truth you don't want to know? Whose to say the truth is always something you want? And all it takes to overcome this fallacy, is the ability to build up some foresight before making inquiry.

The Other Side

The philosopher isn't repulsed by the truth, because they are more devoted to study it, than any other human being (in theory). And as such, I am not repulsed by it, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel. I'm not doing this to feel alive. I'm doing this because knowing the truth is what matters to me the most.

And I'm not afraid to admit the truths I find, should doing so may be of use to me and to you. This is a philosophy site. A site based on the endless seeking of the truth, here to be potentially stored for whole generations.

Make sure you know what you're in for.

Hail Philosocom.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Review:

Shouldn’t the answer to why you want to be a philosopher be because you want to know everything? Just as with anything else in life, you need to have a good reason behind your actions. Otherwise you are just like a neuron firing in the brain for no reason. You need to have a reason for doing stuff. Philosophy included. Otherwise you will end up in a stop light. Just doing what you're supposed to when you're told to with only a few options to choose from: Green or red.

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Mr T. Rubinshtein has not expanded on what I wrote because a) he wrote it before me, and b) its not exactly an expansion. I am saying that the need to look at a problem simultaneously from both sides as if the nature of the problem is dualistic, is more than simply taking two viewpoints as suggested. Realism is possible only when we are taking a simultaneous attitude (which is not a natural way of thinking for us humans). Our training for taking more simple and straight-forward logical methods is insufficient, and we eventually will need to take a closer dualist approach.


There is no need to make this matter so complicated, but one must allow for a certain attitude to the subject which has duality. I find that when we want to better understand what is going on in regard to philosophy (and in many other topics too) we need to examine it from two opposing sides. What Hamlet should have claimed is: "To be and not to be; this is the answer!"

Replying to

Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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