I am a wandering philosopher-pirate with an Associates degree in Behavioral Science, and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley. I call myself a “philosopher pirate” because an undergraduate degree only scratches the surface that is the rabbit hole of academic philosophy, and espousing to be a Philosopher with just enough knowledge to be dangerous would be disingenuous and entail a level of precision and responsibility that I haven’t signed on for.

Professional philosophy in the Western discipline is widely misconstrued by association with belief systems, in general, and sheet-clad wise-men sitting atop mountains meditating on life’s deepest questions, more specifically. The Western academic tradition may be better encapsulated as a discipline of critical thinking. It is an attempt to standardize a logical approach to those questions which the sciences have not yet found a method to test. Every science, in fact, has its origin in philosophical examination. It is the moment that a reliable pattern is observed, a theory is formed, and the technology and methodology exist to test said theory coalesce, that a philosophy graduates to a science. Philosophy, in the original and strictest sense, did not refer merely to an individual opinion or belief. Rather, its meaning can be traced to our earliest efforts to understand the discernible forces underpinning our universe, as etymonline.com attests:

philosophy (n.)

c. 1300, “knowledge, body of knowledge,” from Old French filosofie “philosophy, knowledge” (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia and from Greek philosophia “love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation,” from philo- “loving” (see philo-) + sophia “knowledge, wisdom,” from sophis “wise, learned;” of unknown origin.Meaning “system a person forms for conduct of life” is attested from 1771.

For those issues which continue to defy such a straight-forward approach, such as questions of ethics or pertaining to matters lying outside of observable human experience, such as death, philosophers endeavor to approach the answers through a formalized style of reasoning. Since we do not know the answers, we attempt to approach them through the elimination of those solutions which are demonstrably false. Professional philosophers engage in an ongoing dialog with other critical thinkers, attempting to build an unassailable scaffold toward truth by detecting weaknesses in the scaffolding, using what are known as logical syllogisms. A popular example:

Socrates is a man
All men are mortal
Therefore Socrates is mortal

Each step of the syllogism builds from the previous. Therefore if we accept the veracity of one, we can accept that which follows. Conversely, if we can find any part of the foundation to be dubious, then it casts doubt upon those further statements which rely upon it for accuracy. If Socrates is, in fact, a boat, then our conclusion is rendered erroneous.

This barely begins to describe the mental gymnastics that Professional Philosophers exercise in seeking illumination through the ideological darkness. It is challenging intellectual work in the highest degree.

While the search for Truth is an effort I am firmly and by nature committed to, the discipline is of necessity granular and pedantic in the extreme, which cuts away from my equally irrepressible identity as a highly creative creature. As such, I have not resolved to devote my career exclusively to the Philosophic discipline, but neither can I relinquish the endeavor by wholesale.

I therefore practice philosophy not to the standards of a professional Philosopher, thus rendering myself to the ranks of the philosophical renegade. I will try, to the best of my ability, to puzzle out the pieces, but I will never claim to be an authority on the subject. And sometimes I will just plain meander through the uncharted woods of an errant thought, with no firm objective. So, consider this my digital mountain. It is my catch-all blog where I muse about whatever happens to be rambling about my mind at the time. A pensieve, if you will.

For more about the title of this blog, please check out my blog post on the subject.