Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon (1561–1626).

I‘ve been lucky enough to receive great advice in my brief time studying academic philosophy. In particular, philosophy has nourished my life outside of it in a way that has made me more humble and more contented with the knowledge I have.

With humility, I am able to think more critically and more openly than ever before. I try not to take assumptions lightly; I give opinions a chance; I write with proportionate flair; I scaffold my arguments slowly—at least, I try to do these things. I continue to accept that I am very far from a finished product.

For have you heard of the ‘Dunning-Kruger effect’? Well, assuming its theses exhibit some accuracy, those with lower ability tend to overestimate their actual ability. They oversee logical flaws and don’t appreciate evidence: they think their take is golden. But watch their downfall in philosophy.

Ironically, by accepting the limitations of knowledge and ability and by acknowledging the challenges the arguments we hitherto thought of as golden face, we’re actually more likely to be right and see ourselves grow.

So as Francis Bacon writes in Of Studies:

'Read not to contradict and refute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.'

This concludes our lesson in philosophical humility.