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The Traits of a Good Philosopher -- A Meta-Philosophical Guide

Updated: Dec 24, 2023




The Five Pillars of Philosophical Inquiry: Traits for Every Aspiring Thinker


Here are five essential traits that form the basis of any competent philosopher's personality and approach to philosophical inquiry. Cherishing these qualities is not just an academic exercise, for they can become guiding and enhancing principles in the lifelong pursuit of understanding the world and ourselves.


1. Open-Mindedness: Embracing new ideas, even those challenging your own established beliefs, is fundamental. A true philosopher welcomes diverse perspectives and engages in critical examination of their own worldview, acknowledging the possibility of being wrong.


2. Critical Thinking: The ability to deconstruct arguments, identify flaws in reasoning, and construct well-supported arguments of your own is crucial for understanding reality. Analyzing information with a judgemental eye ensures your conclusions are based on sound logic and evidence, not simply baseless assumptions. And intuition alone doesn't make the cut.


3. Intellectual Honesty: Relentlessly questioning your own ideas and holding yourself accountable for your reasoning are critical aspects of philosophical integrity (as well as professional). Be open to admitting mistakes, revising your thinking when presented with new evidence, and engaging in genuine intellectual pursuit rather than clinging to dogmatic positions.


4. Creativity: Philosophy thrives on fresh thinking. The ability to break from conventional frameworks, challenge pre-existing assumptions, and propose innovative solutions to complex problems, sets truly exceptional philosophers apart. The more innovative you are in either of philosophy's fields, the greater your distinction can be as a philosopher, thus, making you capable of being remembered more after your death.


5. Humility: Recognizing the limitations of your own knowledge and understanding is imperative as we are all ignorant to an extent. A true philosopher acknowledges the vastness of what remains unknown, and approaches every encounter with the humility to learn and grow from others, enriching their own perspective with diverse viewpoints.


By embracing these five pillars, you can embark on a transformative journey of philosophical exploration, honing your analytical skills, expanding your understanding of the world, and navigating the intricate complexities of existence with open eyes and a curious mind.


Traits to Navigate Reality In Accordance to Profound Thought


Within the realm of philosophy lie six essential traits that guide the journey of any aspiring thinker, equipping seekers of wisdom with the tools to navigate the ever-shifting currents of ideas and their supporters. These are not mere academic exercises, but a way of living life, defined by a burning passion to illuminate the path towards understanding ourselves and the world around us!


For the philosophers of old, such as Socrates and Diogenes, are considered great sages not for their writings, which they didn't even produced. For philosophy's relevancy is embodied by its ability to alter lives and minds in accordance to one's findings.


And that of course includes the lives of philosophers themselves!


1. Doubt: The Bedrock of Inquiry: A philosopher wields doubt like a sculptor's set of work tools, chipping away at the delusional confidence of certainty, to reveal the hidden layers of truth, beyond the illusion of knowledge. By questioning assumptions, even their own, they test the strength of arguments and pave the way for a more refined quality of understanding. This skepticism isn't an aimless rejection; it's the fuel for new, greater opinions, forged in the fire of critical examination.


And people who care not for the doubting of their own present assumptions, those who prefer to stay in Plato's Cave, are unworthy of the philosopher's relentless pursuit towards the truth outside the bonfires, pretending to be the sun itself! Those who think they want to philosophize, but need to shelter themselves from doubt, are unfit to accompany the philosopher on his ruthless journey. For logic may require us to even doubt our own emotions, shaping us accordingly.


2. Independence: A Mind Forged in Fire: True philosophers don't simply echo the chorus of established thought, and do not support it in the name of conformity/herd mentality. They carve their own paths, unafraid to distinguish themselves from the crowd whom, like the Joker, may be anti-philosophical.


This independence isn't mere, childish stubbornness; it's the courage to stand alone, intellectually speaking, challenging the boundaries of conventional wisdom, and sayings that are marketed as wisdom (Like trends being a need). Even if it means traveling the world in solitude and in alienation, they push against the tides of conformity, their minds ablaze with the torch of intellectual rebellion.


For the philosopher's verdict of being is one that is often ought to be a social dysfunction nevertheless.


3. Self-Sufficiency: A Lone Airship in the Sky of Thought: Unlike ships connected to ports, truly exceptional philosophers don't rely solely on external currents to propel their voyage. They can find intellectual prosperity even in isolation, fueled by the engine of their own critical thinking. This is why doing nothing can have its own fair share of productivity.


Their thirst for knowledge isn't quenched by borrowed ideas, but by the self-generated spark of curiosity, allowing them to navigate the seas of thought even in the deepest isolation of their own minds.


And the price of this intellectual prosperity, made and fueled without the need of collective discourse, is loneliness.


4. Logical Rigor: A Shield Within the Storm of Emotion: Emotion, with its swirls and tides, can be a treacherous guide for navigating the philosophical seas, making much of it it a weakness in the era of content generation. A good philosopher understands this, relying instead on the steady guide of logic, its unforgiving light illuminating the path toward sound reasoning. Arguments flow like currents with planning and not with impulsivity. Without the logic to channel and direct these flows, the river of inquiry would become a torrent of confusion and poor consistency.


5. Unquenchable Curiosity: Simping for The Goddess of Wisdom: Philosophy thrives on the insatiable thirst for knowledge. Each droplet of information, meticulously gathered, adds to the philosopher's intellectual reservoir of the love of wisdom. This curiosity isn't a fleeting fascination; it's a burning desire to delve deeper, to understand not just the grand questions, but also the intricate mechanisms of the studied field. With each drop of knowledge consumed, the philosopher extracts the precious essence of wisdom, a potent elixir that fuels their journey onwards. If they are willing to be public figures, they will also distriubte their elixir to the world while they're alive.


6. Dynamicy: A Mind in Constant Contruction: Like branches swaying in the wind, a truly good philosopher's mind remains flexible. They don't become rigid fortresses, defending themselve against new ideas. Instead, they embrace the possibility of their own, current faults, seeing criticism as a tool for growth, not a weapon against their fortifications. Perhaps some, like myself, would choose to remain unhappy, for that purpose.


In the clash of opposing viewpoints, they hear not the gunfire of battle, but the symphony of potential refinement towards a more profound mind. By listening to the voices of critics, they develop of understanding, enriching their own thought, and seizing their thoughts like a universal businessman -- even those of antagonists.


For the brain is constantly building itself. And the search for truth can easily hold a functional purpose: to shape our brains and enhance their innate potential, which then can do much good to the world.


A Closing Call to the Philosopher Within


This exploration of the key traits of a philosopher is not merely an exercise reserved for academics, but an invitation to embark on a transformative journey. As you delve deeper into doubt, independence, self-sufficiency, logic, curiosity, and dynamic openness, you cultivate the seeds of wisdom within yourself, and transform yourself into a more capable being. Capable of what? Whatever the answer is, remember that we are more capable than what we think we are.


While the path to philosophership may not be paved with instant recognition, the pursuit itself is a worthy endeavor. The act of questioning, of seeking truth through thorough thought and a thirst for knowledge, is its own reward, capable of transforming your inner potentials into reality. It is an evidence to the human spirit's insatiable curiosity, a testament to our yearning to understand ourselves and the universe around us.


And it is through a better understanding of reality, that we can act in accordance to the insights we have discovered.


Every step you take, every trait you nurture, is a contribution to the grand archives of philosophical thought, recorded and preserved through thousands of years! You become part of a lineage that features countless sages throughout the ages, built on the collective pursuit of wisdom.


So, dear reader, embrace the quest. Let doubt be your sword, independence your compass, and curiosity your fuel. Train your mind in the art of logic, cultivate an empire of self of self-sufficiency, and remain forever open to the whispers of new ideas, so they can transform your flexible-capable mind in accordance!

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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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