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I've been getting rather very interesting questions in class recently.

To which I have mostly said first that I do not know, and then I follow it up with (and this is rather very new to me) my own view. And I don't usually do that because I can always answer by saying what this or that philosopher said or would say on the matter. I've seen this in my teachers. It is rather easy to extrapolate a philosopher's possible answer because a philosopher usually has one thought or idea, and that thought would mostly be all-encompassing; so it's a matter of locating where the question is in the "system" and leading it back to the one thought.

But having to think on my feet, and challenged by the question--and not just because I have to answer lest I look like a fool (a misconception I had when I was a rookie)--and simply forgetting what other philosophers said in excitement, I tried answering them--but again with much hesitation in that I do not claim I am right (also a misconception).

Here are a few of the questions. I leave out my answers.

On Plato's myth of the cave and regarding truth:

1. If Plato's realm of ideas (eidos) will always be better ("more" true, cleaner) than the realm of the real (what we experience in the world), why wish to live in the higher world (e.g., the philosopher's life) when you will not experience it in the real world?--when the real will always fall short of the ideal but the ideal will never be real?

(Quite a mouthful: it was better when asked in Filipino. Was going to use Aquinas who said that man is a horizon: a being caught between sky and earth; possessing a soul which aspires for the infinite, trapped in a body which will always weigh it down because it is finite. Man is that tension: agaw-liwanag at agaw-dilim. But I forgot Aquinas at that time.)

2. If light causes shadows, then could it not be said that truth can also be the source of error or untruth?

(Reminds me of Heidegger, that to be in error or untruth is to be in truth already. But I can't say that this soon. I said that the fault does not lie in the sun's light but in the visibility (being created? finite again) of corporeal bodies. Now I remember Shakespeare! "The fault dear Brutus, lies not in the stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings.")

And on Kierkegaard:

1. Is faith enough to be with God?

(To which I said, "I am no theologian and only a poor philosophy teacher, but perhaps . . . " (followed by thirty-minute sermon))

2. In leaving the aesthetic stage and in the teleological suspension of the ethical, that is, in following God's will and living the life of faith, what happens to happiness? Is there a place for happiness in Kierkegaard's philosophy, one which is marked by the words fear and trembling, anxiety and despair, sin, etc. Was Abraham happy when he was tested?

(I began by saying that Kierkegaard was a very depressed man . . . )

Now I'm beginning to think I'm a lousy teacher.


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