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We always think, that’s true. That’s why the famous French philosopher Descartés had identified the human existence with his process of thinking. But the act of thinking is not always at the first level, though mostly it is. Sometimes we think of some thoughts. We can call it “second level thinking”. In this case we think in some kind of abstract issues, namely about thoughts of things. But the real abstract thinking goes further: Thinking of thinking itself. For example, what kind of a thing is this experience we called “thinking”. Where we could suspect everything we think we know, this cannot be in any kind of doubt: We think and we exist as a constant stream of thinking. Theoretically, or maybe we should/may say logically, thinking could not be grasped by thinking. Because when it tries to grasp it, then it itself should also would be the subject of grasping. And this goes infinetly… Then are we perplexed at understanding what thinking, as our mode of existence, is? That seems so. Nevertheless, analyzing the elements of thinking could provide us an understanding that could tell us firstly what thinking is not, secondly the real difference of it from other experiences we live during our existence, and thirdly the limits of our understanding of even ourselves. The wisdom we are expected to achieve is clear: We should strive to know more and more, knowing we would always know little.


Need For Speak

Revealing what we feel or what we think is a natural inclination. Sometimes the listener is only ourselves. Even only this mostly suffices to satisfy this incline. But not always. Some other times we need a second listener. It could be an imaginary listener, a possible reader we don’t know maybe. Not so good as a real one but better than the first, us. This is the exact point that when focused points to the core natural need mentioned above: Need for speak. That is not an easily ignorable thing. Some of us like saying “I’m ok with myself, no need to any other soul” with a confidential tone. But what about the psychological facts about human nature that could not be put aside? So if there is such a nature and if that is created that way, no use to see ourselves an exception of it. If we have a lot of real listeners no problem. If we have not, we could imagine them, and that is something. But we should know that a non-stop self-speaking is not a healthy option.


What Makes Us Different

A lot of definitions have been made to define what human being really is. Referring to Aristoteles’ writings a popular one is that human is a thinking animal. In a daily conversation this could be seen as a degrading statement. How could human be some kind of animal? However there is no degrading in this totally logical and in a sense scientific and a bit philosophical defining. We can easily see that as a bodily existence we are of no difference from any other species on earth. Our bodies are made of cells. And these are composed of four base elements, e.d. C, O, H, N. Then in Aristotelian words the materia of our bodies are same as the other animals’. Difference comes from the form. But then this difference  makes us only a different species, not a different being. And handling the matter in this way doesn’t necessarily mean an evolutionary approach. This is quite a simple factual thing. Then a task is waiting for us: What makes us a different being, not only a different species? The classical Aristotelian answer is also simple and easily acceptable: A thinking animal. Maybe this could be a bit more detailed, saying for example “a thinking animal” or “a thinking primate” in accordance with scientific classifications. But the essential part is clear: Thinking. But at this point, one of the most profound questions of philosophy –maybe the most profound of them- arises: What is thinking?

Writing in a Foreign Language Is Not a Bad Thing At All

Let me write some in English language, my imaginery readers. Writing in a foreign language, if apparently there is no practical need in so doing , is seen sometimes as rooted from some kind of ‘inferiorial’ incline. This cannot be totally wrong of course. We are indeed ‘inferior’ in many aspects, though our ‘national pride’ doesn’t allow us to honestly admit it. But regarding the definition of “inferiority complex”, if we are aware of it, then for us it is not a complex, rather an explicit fact. So, no need to worry. We don’t need to see ourselves inferior when some serious problems of our cultural spheres, including our language are admitted. “Pride and Prejudice” can and should not restrict our vision to the ever growing universal knowledge. And if its main channel for decades has been a foreign language, namely English, so be it. It is not the “west man’s language” anymore. It is a common language, regardless of its historical/cultural origin. It is a powerful tool for a lot of things. Let’s use it.

Gündemin Dışında Bir Yerler…

Devekuşlarının başlarını kuma sokması, “düşmandan saklanmak” şeklinde yorumlanır. Görmek/düşünmek istemediklerimize gözümüzü/düşüncemizi kapatmamız sıklıkla buna benzetilir. Güzel de bir benzetmedir. Tümüyle içinde olduğumuz ve bizi her yanımızdan kuşatmış olan ‘gerçek’lerden yüz çevirip başımızı “gündem” adını verdiğimiz kumun içine sokmayı çok severiz. Bu yalnızca “haberlerin gündemi” değil tabi ki. Etrafımızda en fazla konuşulan ve bizim de kendimizi bıraktığımızda en fazla ilgilendiğimiz her ne varsa, hepsidir bu gündem. Kendimizi bıraktığımızda diyorum. Çünkü “gündem kumu”, devekuşunun kumundan çok daha cazip, çok daha çekici. Ona gömülmek için hiçbir şey yapmamıza gerek yok. Sadece hiçbir şey yapmamamız yetiyor. Hoop hemen o kumun içindeyizdir. Devekuşu nadiren kuma sokar başını. Bizler ise nadiren çıkartırız.



Who knows what true loneliness is — not the conventional word, but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion. Now and then a fatal conjunction of events may lift the veil for an instant. For an instant only. No human being could bear a steady view of moral solitude without going mad.


JOSEPH CONRAD, Under Western Eyes




Felsefe Nedir?

Sofi’nin Dünyası adlı, felsefe tarihi üzerine bir roman var. Türünün tek örneği olan bu kitap felsefeye giriş yapmak isteyenler için iyi bir başlangıç olabilir. Türkçe bir çevirisini Pan Yayınları uzun süredir yayınlamakta. Bir fikir vermesi için kitabın ilk sayfalarında yer alan bir bölümü buraya olduğu şekliyle aktarıyorum:

Felsefe Nedir?

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Sevgili Sofi. İnsanların türlü türlü hobileri vardır. Bazıları eski para veya pul biriktirir, kimisi el sanatlarıyla ilgilenir, kimisi de bir spor dalıyla uğraşır.

Çoğu insan da okumaktan hoşlanır. Ancak okuduğumuz şeyler farklı farklıdır. Kimisi yalnızca gazete ve çizgi roman okur, kimisi roman okumayı sever, bazısı da astronomi, hayvanlar veya teknik buluşlar gibi konularda yazılmış kitapları okumaktan hoşlanır.

Atlarla veya değerli taşlarla ilgilenen biri, başkalarının da bunlarla aynı derecede ilgilenmesini bekleyemez. Televizyonda hiçbir spor karşılaşmasını kaçırmayan biri, bazı insanların spordan sıkıldıklarını kabul etmek zorundadır.

Acaba tüm insanları ilgilendirmesi gereken şeyler var mıdır? Kim olurlarsa ve nerede yaşıyor olurlarsa olsunlar, tüm insanları ilgilendiren bir şey var mıdır? Evet, sevgili Sofi, tüm insanların sorması gereken bazı sorular vardır. Bu kurs da işte bu sorular hakkında.

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