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Habit of Mind

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  • April 25, 2005
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A habit of mind is a way of thinking that one acquires over time. It is a type of thought that involves thinking beyond what society considers right or wrong, but acknowledging through complex thought, what is morally right. It is not easily achieved and is somewhat like a muscle, in that you have to build it up over time through intellectual work and hardship. Not everyone can achieve a strong habit of mind, in fact most don't. The habit is a way of thinking that allows one to communicate with knowledge when the answer is not initially apparent. In order to think in this complex manner a person has to be well educated in all subjects of intelligence. Having a good education goes hand in hand with having good habits of mind, because in order to have positive functioning habits, a person has to be well rounded enough to considered every possible solution to the problems or questions posed. Being able to use a habit of mind also requires a type of thinking where others nor any outside force constrains any ideas or solutions . This by definition is a habit of mind.

The characteristics of a good philosopher are someone who possesses the qualities to use their habits of mind and be able to think on a higher level than most do. Though everyone has their own unique habits of mind, philosophers are trained to think at a level where their habits of mind are stronger, and thus are always looking for, and usually come up with the best solution to questions, or problems posed. Plato is an example of a philosopher; he wrote a book, The Republic, which is a novel outlining the steps in order to become a good philosopher. Plato speaks through Socrates in the book, and Socrates gets involved in many challenging debates and philosophical conversations with people along his journeys, allowing him to strengthen his habits of mind. Philosophers are posed with the challenge of attempting to solve many of life's unanswerable questions. One example would be the question as...