In my head, saying I’m into philosophy is a bit analogous to saying I’m an amateur medical doctor. If I told someone I was an amateur M.D. I’d assume they would probably give me a bit of a sideways look and diplomatically try to discover my credentials for making such a claim. Likewise, claiming to be a philosopher seems to require some sort of body of knowledge and training as a prerequisite to making the claim or folks have a right to be skeptical. So, I take the edge off and say I’m “into” philosophy. As in, it is something I find interesting – a hobby perhaps. But it doesn’t seem like philosophy can be a hobby, just like it would be hard to be an M.D. (that did no harm anyway) in your spare time and free weekends.
But that’s just how I feel. What I know is that I really do like philosophy. I like thinking about it, I like reading it (the modern takes anyway), and I like talking about it. It can be intimidating though because I have never taken a philosophy class (I have taken classes in related topics like Ethics and Morality) and I haven’t read a lot of the “classics” (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc.) and it is a huge field with a lot of participants, amateur and otherwise. On the other hand, maybe this is an advantage – I haven’t had any preconceived interpretations put into my head by the modern philosophy establishment.
Any time I’ve thought about studying philosophy, I could never quite come to grips with how to start. I know there are plenty of free classes out there to take on a myriad of topics but it just isn’t appealing to me to sit through lectures on topics that may or may not be enlightening and/or interesting. So I’ve decided to teach myself the stuff I’m interested in and to use this blog as a forum for friends and family to follow along or join the conversation if so moved. I will be an amateur philosopher studier and I’m gonna put the process online. Good times! At least that is the plan for now… something shiny might come along, we’ll see.