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Habit of Mind

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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 to whether abortion is right or wrong. Both sides can be argued, pro life or pro choice, and both have sufficient evidence supporting its side. Although it would make sense that the person who's fully informed on the subject and has the best ability to argue their contention will prevail in the conclusion of the argument, a solution is not usually possible. This complex thought process is a habit of mind. One of philosophers goals is to argue the most moral solution, using his knowledge on the subject matter, and pose the best solution to society, as the philosopher came up with using the habit of mind. Using habits of mind requires an education in all subjects of knowledge, although the education gained is not the main goal of a philosopher. The main goal of a philosopher is to be able to react verbally and effectively communicate philosophical contentions to other people, and to make just and moral decisions. Just decisions are decisions that are in society's best interest and not bias toward any particular individual or group, however the decisions do not necessarily need to agree with society's current views, so long as they reflect a notion of justice and morality. Philosophers are obliged to make just decisions for moral situations that affect society such as the previously stated example of abortion. A doxophilist however, is a bit different. He or she questions parts of life to find a certain answer. Aristotle's teachings are based upon the scientific method which asks for an answer to the questions that are proposed, or in other words the training for a doxophilist comes by a certain pattern of learning. This means that the doxophilist is trained to take a situation and define it by a certain process that they are especially skilled in. The main goal of the doxophilist is similar to that of the philosopher because both look to be able to effectively communicate their contentions while making just decisions in their pleas. The main difference is that the doxophilists goal is to search more for concrete answers instead of being able to communicate them verbally to others. An important aspect of being a philosopher is the wisdom that you gain from the time spent thinking. Wisdom is not as simple as education, but more complex because it cannot be taught. Wisdom comes from experience, and the complex applied knowledge from these experiences. The gaining of wisdom is actually a very complex process. It is not like the common process of as the older you get the wiser you get, but it is actually a process that happens physically in your body. A part in your brain called the prefrontal cortex begins to works simultaneously with all other basic senses from the rest of your body. The final step in the process is the gathering up of information and making a decision through movement or speech. When a person is able to make these decisions correctly and without haste he or she is considered to be a wise person. You can find the distinction between the philosopher and the doxophilist in the body, because philosophers prefrontal cortex gathers senses from every sense in the body, and thus philosophers have wisdom, whereas the doxophilist would only gather senses from another part in the brain.

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