Philosophy and the American School: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education

By Van Cleve Morris | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTEEN The "Open Question": Existentialism

PROLOGUE

The default of philosophy

The most remarkable thing about philosophy is its agonizing unsettledness. What is noteworthy about the questions that philosophy raises is that they never seem to get answered. This is probably why philosophy, as a way of life, is scorned by the average man. One explanation may be that philosophy deals with questions of greater over-all complexity than any other field of study. And if today we find ourselves asking the same questions that Socrates asked 2500 years ago, it may be due to the fact that they are very difficult questions.

Of course, some people say that 2500 years is long enough. If a question can't get answered in that period of time it is either meaningless as a question or not worth answering; let's get on with something else, something we can succeed at a little more regularly. Experimentalists often talk like this. They tend to think that the ultimate questions of philosophy are not worth bothering with. If a question has no answer, that is a sign that it is basically meaningless. If a question can be answered, but if the answer makes no difference anywhere in life, then it is not worth

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