Philosophers are also called thinkers. We easily believe that philosophers are specialists in thinking, as linguists are specialists in speech and writing. If someone knows how to think, it must be a philosopher, we think.
I believe we are wrong to think philosophers know how to think. Rather, they are people who know when we do not know how to think. They acknowledge (for all of us) when we do not know how to think (although we thought we knew). Such confessions probably need to me made more often!
If you think you know how to think about immigration, or about stem cell research, then you have an opinion. The opinion may be substantiated, but it hardly makes you a thinker, but rather a molder of public opinion. Since you already know how to think, you do not have to think. You only need to keep on talking, according to what you believe you know.
“I need more time to think about it; I don’t know how I should think.” We fail to notice that there is a way of thinking that begins the very moment we do not know how to think. At that moment, the philosophical dimension of thinking opens up.
When you know how to think, you no longer think. Not in the philosophical sense. If you meet an argumentative chatterbox, or a schoolmasterly specialist in thinking, you can be sure it is not a philosopher.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.