Plato on Philosophical Wonder
Socrates said that “philosophy begins in wonder.” What is this experience of wonder and why is it so important for philosophy or, more generally, the love of wisdom? Starting with Aristotle, many philosophers have thought of philosophical wonder as a sort of puzzlement that prompts us to seek out new, better understandings of ourselves and our world. From this point of view, although philosophy begins in wonder, it seeks to overcome it. Understanding dispels puzzlement and with it our wonder. Plato had a quite different view. For him, the love of wisdom begins in wonder and is sustained by it. We will explore why he thought this and how it might affect our understanding of humanistic education and inquiry.