Questions are usually used by many people to set the base for an inquiry. Therefore, any constructive conversation must contain some questions. This piece of work therefore tries to explain whether limits should be put to what should be questioned or not. Philosophy is a discipline that is characterized by many questions and any person who can ask a question can be considered a philosopher in his or her own right. A philosopher should not blindly accept an answer without analyzing it critically. At the same time, a philosopher should avoid ambiguity when asking questions but should ask questions that can compel the respondents to think critically when answering them. Russell once stated that in Philosophy as a discipline, the answers that are given to questions are not important but what is important are the questions themselves (Lewis, 81). This dictum is absolutely correct because if a question is not properly presented, the answers to it may not appropriately solve the intended problem. Care also has to be taken otherwise irrelevant may be given to a question that has been properly posed. On the other hand, a person may tactfully ask a question so as to conceal or even reveal an idea. A person may ask a valid question but frame the question so as to be biassed towards a particular answer (Lewis, 81). This implies that the dictum by Russell should be taken seriously so as to pose correct questions.
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Philosophy deals with all sorts of questions but more concentration is given to fundamental questions. It deals with questions that can make sense to any individual but they require critical thinking to attempt answering them. One can only attempt to answer philosophical questions but cannot give definite answers to them because there are no specific answers in philosophy. One cannot find answers to fundamental questions by simply applying scientific methodologies or common sense but creative thinking and critical reasoning are required. Many scholars have also found it very difficult to give the same definition of philosophy because it does not deal with any specific subject matter. This makes it very difficult to come up with a specific universally accepted definition of philosophy. Some people have also tried to define philosophy by defining a philosopher. According to Bernard Russell, “A true philosopher is not bound by any particular ‘truths’ that set limits to his/her urge to continue asking questions” (Zunjic, 1). This implies that any person who subscribes to philosophical principles should not shy away from questioning beliefs that have been considered to be true by many people.
Philosophy is full of questions and I, therefore, think that there are no limits to what should be asked. Russell described philosophy to be a discipline that deals with vague questions and uncertainties. We get to learn and know more about ourselves and our environment by asking questions. If there are limits to questions that should be asked, many great ideas cannot be generated. If people are free to ask as many questions as they please, they may ask some important questions that can compel the respondents to think critically and creatively. In the process of thinking critically, the respondents may generate great ideas that may be beneficial to a given society or even the whole world. People should therefore feel free to ask any question from any subject because it could be the foundation for developing new inventions.
However, people should always try to ask questions that are relevant to the subject matter being talked about. In other words, valid questions should always be asked to avoid ambiguities and irrelevancies when giving out the answers. Valid questions are those that are within the context matter under discussion. If a question can yield reasonable answers, it is considered a reasonable question. This implies that people should not just as questions for the sake of it but rather employ the use of logic when asking questions.
To some reasonable extent, I agree with people who claim that there are limits to what should be questioned. This is because, if no limitations are put to what should be questioned, some people may question some things that are completely out of context. For example, ignorant people do not usually care about the subject matter and they may decide to ask irrelevant questions. Fake arguments may arise from irrelevant questions and therefore no constructive conclusion can be arrived at in a discussion. Some unreasonable questions cannot be realistically addressed and thus may only result in wastage of time and energy. There are some specific situations in which there should be limits to what should be questioned. In a meeting of board members of a banking institution, questions should be limited to factors that affect the banking institution in one way or the other. In other words, questions should be related to the banking institution in one way or the other. Top management of the bank may therefore give an order that only questions that are related to the banking sector should be addressed during meetings.
Even though I have stated that I agree with some people who believe that there are limits to what should be questioned, I still hold on to my previous opinion. In fact, as a philosopher I have to accept criticism and consider opinions by others. According to Descartes, all false opinions can be prevented by simply rejecting all beliefs that can be doubted. A question is usually asked when a person does not know anything about the subject matter or when the person wants to know more about the subject matter. A person may also ask a question when in doubt about an idea, theory or opinion. According to meditations of Descartes, he said that he found out that he held beliefs that were wrong. He later found out the truth after asking himself very many questions. He started asking himself questions when he doubted what he was believed in.
From meditations of Descartes, there are no limits to what should be questioned. If Descartes did not question his earlier beliefs, he would not have known the truth. If limits are put to what can be questioned, one may not find out an appropriate truth when in doubt. For example, if a question has been asked and the answer to the question given, the answer may not be appropriate and therefore people may want to ask more questions. If more questions are not allowed, people may accept the given answer but with some doubts. Any opinion can either be false or true and therefore one is right when seeking to know more about the opinion. To eliminate unnecessary doubts, there should be no limits to what should be questioned.
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On the other hand, one of the characteristics of philosophers is that they accept diversity of opinions. I therefore agree with the opinions of people who may say that Descartes’s meditations demonstrate that there are limits to what should be questioned. Descartes had many doubts that led to endless questions. One may argue that if every belief is doubted, no truth can be found. For example, when a person is thinking about a certain great idea and at the same time the person doubts whether it is a dream or a reality, the great idea may not be beneficial. It is therefore important to limit what should be questioned and let people trust valid opinions that have been proved to be true. However, the limitations should not be to deny people chances to know the truth but rather restrict engagement in fake arguments.
According to Peirce, valid arguments can be derived from principles of good reasoning. This implies that employing logic when asking questions is very important because logic is one of the qualities of good reasoning. A person who has good reasoning capacity can ask a question that makes sense thus leading to valid arguments. Therefore there should be no limits to what should be questioned as long as a person has a reason to question a belief and can use the principles of good reasoning. All questions start by doubting something. One cannot be forced to hold on to a belief even if there is some evidence that the belief might be false. For example, if people are forced to believe in theological doctrines they may not benefit from the beliefs especially when they have doubts about the beliefs. If the same people are left free to question the beliefs they may find out that whatever they believe in is false.
It is known that some governments around the world imposed policies and ideas on citizens who were not allowed to question the ideas and policies. Citizens who dare question or ignore the policies faced harsh punishments such as death penalties. This was happening many years ago and it led to the rise of dictators to power. Many people lost their properties and lives because of such cruel regimes that put limits to what could be questioned. The citizens of the countries that were ruled by the dictators currently lead relatively better lives after the oppressive regimes have been eliminated. This is because they were not allowed to question bad policies that were used by people in power to benefit themselves. After several decades of struggle of questioning why the regimes were using bad policies, political changes took place and thus democracy is now being embraced by many regimes. With a good democratic space, people lead better lives because they can decide how they want to live.
In conclusion, I still hold on to an opinion that there are no limits to what should be questioned. This is because many benefits have been achieved through asking questions without limits. Just as described by Weinstein, many beneficial political and religious changes have been due to philosophical questions. Religious changes that have occurred allow individuals to practice religions that they believe are good for them. This started when people doubted certain religious beliefs thus prompting them to question the validity of the beliefs. He further explained that abolition of slavery, development in modern science and even liberal education have been because of philosophy, which questioned many aspects in these fields.
Lewis, Stephen. On the Question of Questions. (2004). Web.
Zunjic, Bernard. What is Philosophy? The Value of Philosophy by Russell. (2010). Web.