‘Think’ by Blackburn

Reading the introduction to ‘Think’ by Simon Blackburn, an accessible guide to basic philosophical ideas, I came across the following on the nature of philosophical reflection:

‘For the last two thousand years the philosophical tradition has been the enemy of this kind of cosy complacency. It has insisted that the unexamined life is not worth living. It has insisted on the power of rational reflection to winnow out bad elements in our practices, and to replace them with better ones. It has identified critical self reflection with freedom, the idea being that only when we can see ourselves properly can we obtain control in the direction in which we would wish to move. It is only when we can see our situation steadily and see it whole that we can start to think what to do about it.’ (Blackburn 1999:12)

This quotation explores how reflection is not just an aim in itself, but actually helps us to improve our practice – a kind of self commentary giving us feedback on ourselves. Hopefully I will find that reflection on not only my community work but also on aspects of my viola playing will help me confront issues and overcome them.

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