I'm not sure what having a "personal philosophy" means, but it seems like that's the only way non academics can relate to philosophy. I suppose it means taking some philosophical idea seriously enough for it to impact on your life.

I've learnt a little, in studying philosophy, but don't feel I have a philosophy, or that I live according to one, or as a philosopher. Not simply because I didn't study it very much, but because it seems somewhat too bold to claim to have found any meaningful truth, at least if you're not doing serious research. Which wouldn't be a philosopher in quite the way I mean, though I assume there are overlaps.

So that is why I would not say I had a "philosophy".

I don't know what it means to (and being so inclined I think knowing what it means wouldn't change anything) then decide that having a philosophy is unethical, but nevertheless I'm leaning toward it being an undesirable quality of a person.

One reason to think this, that being a philosopher in this sense is unethical, is that even if philosophy lives on, it's not clear to me (yet!) that its proponents, philosophers, do.

So what counter or supporting arguments are taken seriously in contemporary philosophy?

  • Do you think that you could add more text to the body that explains the question that you're asking because right now most if not all of the body text has to do with why you're wondering about the question and not what the question actually is. I think if you explain more of what you mean by the titular question there is a better chance that this won't be closed as "too broad" or "unclear". And additionally, at some point someones gonna ask you to delete the last sentence because its answering the question inside of the question.
    – Not_Here
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:20
  • @Not_Here not sure i understand the difference between why i'm wondering, and what the question is.
    – user28117
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:20
  • "I stubbed my toe the other day" and "How do nerve cells and pain work?" are an example of "why I'm wondering" and "what the question is".
    – Not_Here
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:21
  • 1
    The entire body of this question is basically you explaining why you wouldn't call yourself a philosopher, how does that explain the question "is it ethical to be a philosopher?" Like, the first four sentences are all explanations of why you feel like you wouldn't call yourself a philosopher. Where does the "is it ethical to be a philosopher" come in? Where is the question about ethics in the body of your question?
    – Not_Here
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:25
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    @PeterJ I think a particular mix of outlooks may well be personalized. Yes, individual positions should be able to withstand scrutiny, but there are plenty of issues where "reasonable people disagree" and/or the choices are by nature personal. To act one has to pick one though (say positions on abortion, vegetarianism, "teaching philosophy", "studying philosophy", etc.), and develop personal maxims for practicality of picking. Those maxims form the "personal philosophy", and forming them is the job Kant assigned "practical reason" to do.
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


There is a particular philosophy of the mind that draws a (porous) dividing life through the mind, calling one part of it conscious and the other unconscious.

Likewise, it may be the case that everyone has a 'personal philosophy' most of which is unconscious and can only be understood by examining that persons life, his actions and his intentions; this, in practise, is hardly possible.

In which case it's not at all strange to have a personal philosophy and not be able to articulate it properly; one might say, that philosophy of various kinds provides a tool-kit or rather, a thinking kit, to begin to understand and articulate ones own personal philosophy.

(This shouldn't be taken as a vote for 'pushing ones personal philosophy' of the kind pushed forward by David Icke or even more broadly, scientologists or the like).

  • @user3293056: you're welcome, btw it's usual to up-vote a post that one likes, not that I'm 'pushing' for a vote ... :). Personally speaking, I prefer comments as they say more than just a bare up or down vote. Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 12:46

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