As a teacher charged with the task of helping students learn how to construct and deconstruct arguments, I often begin the year by asking my students to articulate their own personal worldview. Why is there something rather than nothing? How do you know what you know? What is the meaning of history? How do you explain the moral nature of humanity? What has gone wrong with the world? Can it be set right? Will it be set right? What will “right” ultimately look like?
As foundational as these questions may first appear to be, you might be surprised to know how rare it is for a student to be able to answer these questions in any kind of a meaningful way. Regardless of how bright the student may be, they are often incapable of providing even the most rudimentary of responses, as they simply have not been taught how to consider their own thought-life. And yet, as you can see from the questions themselves, worldviews are a summation of everything we believe to be true about the nature of the world around us. And as such, worldviews are very much a part of our daily existence, even if we don’t spend a great deal of time consciously considering their merits. Read the rest of this entry »