Philosophy revolves around all aspects of our lives. We constantly some philosophical questions to ourselves without even knowing. Like in the case of metaphysical theory where we position our lives around ideas we think of as real. Understanding the reality of our lives can only be answered via philosophy. Another aspect is moral or ethical theories. We try to understand while questioning what the reality should be like and this is where these theories come into practice. We model these theories into ideas which are then used to determine our perspective about life. Throughout history, various philosophical ideas have been used to sharpen the society.
Mary Midgley, in her essay titled, “philosophical plumbing” states that in some way philosophy is the same as plumbing. They both try to fix the underlying complex issues that we face as humans. With plumbing, the outcome is visible and open. Many people will admit that they need a plumber to help them fix an issue. This sets the difference between the two. Issues that are to be solved through philosophy are not open. Instead, we develop them internally and blame on external factors. According to Mary’s time, people were skeptical about the whole idea of philosophy. A lot has changed over then, problems have become complex but our view about philosophy has not changed much.
As humans, we need metaphysical and moral ideas. This is because we are not born with instincts to determine what we think or want. Rather, we are born with the capacities to follow our minds and question our own beliefs or that of others. These means that we are all philosophic in some way just by the virtue of being human. However, we continue to create more problems because our philosophy ends at questioning and not solving. According to Mary, a true philosopher needs to have attributes of a lawyer and a poet. It is a difficult act of balancing that one not only needs a new vision, but also the thorough, disciplined and articulation of its details and consequences. Great philosophers are poetic because they have knowledge of this “new vision” and lawyerly because they observe all the necessary steps to reach there.
A poet is like a prophetic artist. Through their writings, they give circumstances of the future. A lawyer, on the other hand, hustles the way to arrive at these situations of the future. These attributes make a philosopher properly qualified. To balance the two is a very difficult task. And in most cases one predominates the other. Lawyer aspects comes before the poetic. It solves the problems at hand but fails to deliver on the future. Poetic on the other hand, gives projections of the future without the necessary steps to reach there. None is important than the other because they complement each other.
Very few people have attained these qualities. Going back in history, we encounter many philosophers with different ideas. Their times are not the same as ours. Most of their ideas about how we should live have been false judging from where we are. We have come from a society that justified things that we now consider as morally or ethically wrong. Also, there are some things we practice that could have been considered mutually. We, however, study these ideas and selectively pick those that work for us.
Approaching our lives in that angle demonstrates that our understanding of our own lives, that of others and relationship with others, is based on asking and answering philosophical questions. This makes us humans in a certain way. Philosophy deeply influences our own lives, whether directly or indirectly. Scientifically we can prove this fact by looking at the historical evidence. Life in the 20th century was deeply influenced by various philosophical ideas. An example is Marxism which ruled over a large population of people and to some extent still rules. Fascism is another philosophical idea which caused a war. The people who opposed it were doing so in the name of liberalism-another philosophical idea. We are ruled by what we think or believe.