Die vier grossen philosophischen Fragen betreffen Metaphysik, Epistemologie, philosophische Anthropologie und Ethik.
- What is? What is real? Especially, what is most real?
- How can we know what is real, and especially the most real?
- Who are we, who want to know the real? “Know thyself.”
- What should we be, how should we live, to be more real?
First things first: everything is relative to metaphysics. The first thing every baby ants to know is: What’s there? My son’s first question was “Wot dat?” He kept shooting the question at everything, like a machine gun, until he got a catalog of answers, a universe. If we are wise, we never grow up.
But we do change. Around the beginning of adolescence we turn critical: we want to know not just the difference between cats and dogs but the difference between truth and falsehood. We want to know how we can know, how we can be sure. We become epistemologists. And since the most interesting question of metaphysics is about ultimate reality, the most interesting question of epistemology is about knowing ultimate reality: how can we finite fools know infinite wisdom? How can man know God? Or even that there is a God?
A little later, we also turn inward. We wonder who we really are once we stop playing with our masks on other people’s stages. Why is it so hard to “know thyself ”? Obviously, what we are is human beings, but what is that? (“Wot dat?”) Once we know the known, we want to know the knower.
Finally, when we realize that this self that knows is fundamentally different from everything else in the known universe because it alone can fail to be its true self, we then demand to discriminate not only between truth and falsehood but also between good and evil. We can be bad or good. Nothing else in the universe has that choice. Our selves, unlike acorns or stars, are not wholly given to us but made by our choices. Once we realize that, we ask how we can become our true selves, our real selves, our good selves. How can bad people become good people? And what is it to be a good person? (“Wot dat?”)
Peter Kreeft. THE PHILOSOPHY OF JESUS. ST. AUGUSTINE’S PRESS: South Bend, 2007. (6-8)