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Blackburn raises quite an important question which does not simply advocate philosophers and their reflection. Blackburn proves that thinking and contemplating makes human’s life filled with certain meanings. The thinker argues that philosophers bring to the fore trends and outlooks existing in the human society (Blackburn 7).
They reveal the trends which shape people’s behavior. Therefore, Blackburn concludes that philosophers’ theories can help people to find the most appropriate path in this world. Blackburn claims that it is always important to stop and think about major things, e.g. life, death, faith, etc. Philosophy and major findings of philosophers can help people to reflect upon such important issues.
Admittedly, Blackburn is correct saying that reflection is a very important part of the human life. It is, indeed, important to think and work out certain paradigm or code of conduct, so to speak. People should see several ways and choose the most appropriate one. Philosophers depict all those ways and provide some recommendations. Therefore, philosophy helps to reveal major paths which can be accepted or rejected by people.
Of course, some people may argue that there is no need to sit and think as it is much more important to act. Some people argue that philosophers simply notice what is already known. Thus, philosophers only describe certain trends which prevail in the society. They do not reveal any universal pattern to follow as they simply contemplate certain theories or phenomena.
Some may argue that there is no point in listening to philosophers, reading their works as people will not be able to resist the major trends reigning in the world. For instance, Blackburn mentions Thomas Hobbes’s notion of “the war of all against all” (qtd. in Blackburn 8). However, Hobbes did not invent this outlook.
He simply wrote down what he saw. He portrayed people’s outlooks which were prevailing at that time. The majority of people shared this outlook not because Hobbes described it in his works. People’s beliefs were formed due to historical events and changes that took place in the society.
Response to the Objection
Nonetheless, this viewpoint is rather erroneous. The objection mentioned above is not well-grounded. Of course, philosophers focus on existing trends. They depict major outlooks. However, philosophy also provides certain ways out. Each work contains a description of the trend as well as possible paths to choose.
Thus, Blackburn depicts major features of fatalism and points out that people can either accept it or work out some other outlook (7). Admittedly, people can benefit from learning more about various trends which existed in previous centuries. This can help many people to work out the best code of conduct in the contemporary world.
Finally, Blackburn claims that philosophy is not simply reading and writing philosophical works (7). The essence of philosophy is reflection. Thus, each individual should reflect upon his/her life. It is not enough to be ready to act. It is essential to decide which camp to join.
Having a particular life goal and code of conduct will enable people to be consistent and reach their aims. Besides, being aware of some philosophical views can help people to come up with their own outlook which will, in its turn, help them to self-develop and find their place in this world.
Blackburn, Simon. Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Print.