What is your own philosophy?


Professor Sandy Piderit of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case has a wonderful knack of finding interesting sites and posting the links on her blog, so you should check it out regularly. She recently posted the results of an on-line survey that asks you to rate your responses to a series of statements and, based on those responses, gives you an analysis of your philosophical outlook.

Intrigued, I visited the site and below is the breakdown of my philosophical views, based on my own responses:

You scored as Existentialism. Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.�

“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.�

–Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man’s natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.â€?

–Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun’s Wikipedia User Page…

Existentialism

80%

Utilitarianism

60%

Justice (Fairness)

55%

Hedonism

55%

Kantianism

45%

Strong Egoism

35%

Nihilism

20%

Apathy

15%

Divine Command

0%

What philosophy do you follow? (v1.02)
created with QuizFarm.com

One has to be very wary of, and not take too seriously, such quickie surveys (it has 36 questions and can be done in about 5 minutes or less) that purport to make such sweeping analyses of your belief structures. But more than the results itself, what I found interesting were the kinds of statements that were on the survey. For example, one question is “It would be wrong to steal food for a starving person–if everyone stole, society couldn’t exist..â€? Another was “We should decide the meaning of our lives, rather than letting religion or authority do so for us.â€?

These are the kinds of questions someone who is interested in developing a personal philosophy of life might ask, so the site is worth a visit. It unpacks the concept of ‘philosophy of life’ and reduces it to a set of concrete statements that anyone can understand without having to have a formal background in philosophy.

For example, I have very little knowledge of the various schools of philosophy that merged from the analysis, and only the vaguest idea of what existentialism is, but my own results seem to indicate that that it is my main emphasis (which seems reasonable to me, according to my rudimentary understanding of that philosophy). Utilitarianism and justice (fairness) and hedonism are a joint second. I had only recently come across the notion of ‘justice as fairness’ in reading A Theory of Justice by John Rawls, who develops his idea as a better alternative to utilitarianism. I like Rawl’s approach, so it will be interesting to see how my philosophical preferences change after I have read the entire book and had time to digest his ideas better.

Anyway, check out your own philosophy by clicking on the link. (You can ignore all that stuff about quiz name, user, and password.) And I’d be interested in seeing your comments posted on what you felt about the exercise.

Comments

  1. says

    Mano,
    Thanks for the link. It was an interesting exercise. I also scored existentialism. (No surprise there) Some of the questions were straightforward and others I thought more ambiguous, even if they pertained to a particular philosophical notion. For example:

    “I try very hard to give people what they deserve from me, both good and bad.”

    I suspect that is meant to be sort of like the eye for an eye thing. Treat them well if they treat you well, and punish them if they do not. The good part is easy, I try to treat others well in general. But if someone treats me poorly, what do they deserve from me? Do they deserve something bad? Not necessarily. The question could imply some sort of natural law or standard. Yet depending on the scenario, I could imagine acting in a variety of ways, few of which require me to ‘give them something bad’.

    Do we react (to bad behaviour) to punish, to educate, to prevent future bad behavior? While these are questions for the justice system they are also questions of everyday life. If I can explain to people how they were wrong in the way they treated me, and make them understand so that they will not do it again, then that would be better than a punishment that furthers no future reward for either party. Then again perhaps the person is one who cannot learn this particular lesson, and whose behaviour I cannot correct. In such a case, perhaps the best action is future avoidance. In this case it is for me to learn the lesson and to avoid this person either in general or in certain situations.

    For me, I think the punishment option only comes up for grievous errors that I cannot rectify through the means discussed above. If someone breaks into my house then I punish by calling the police, who then handle it for me. If someone cheats me I may have cause to bring a civil action. But in neither case is the purpose punishment in and of itself. Instead it is protection or recompense for me.

    This would be a great place for me to jump off onto my theories regarding pure self-interest and its impact on morality, but I’ve babbled long enough. Nonetheless I think that this quiz offers some very interesting questions, each of which can be dissected accordingly.

    You scored as Existentialism.

    Existentialism 100%
    Hedonism 50%
    Utilitarianism 40%
    Justice (Fairness) 40%
    Kantianism 30%
    Strong Egoism 30%
    Nihilism 5%
    Divine Command 0%
    Apathy 0%

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