A way to explore a problem with no limits

During my studies I have taken the course philosophy. After reading the book “De IJzeren Wil” (The Iron Will) by Bas Haring, me and my classmates philosophized about various topics that emerged from the book. Topics as “what is meaning” and what is “will”? Questions where a clear answer is not directly given.

Before the philosophy lessons I thought that philosophy was lost time filled with discussions that would lead nowhere, but soon I saw the opposite.


phi·los·o·phy  (fĭ-lŏs′ə-fē)

n. pl. phi·los·o·phies

  1. The study of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning.


De IJzeren Wil (The Iron Wil)

This book written by Bas Haring is about artificial intelligence where focus is quickly set to philosophical questions such as: “can machines own consciousness, a soul or a will?”

While reading I noticed that the book goes beyond the topics as mentioned above. Bas leads you into a story that let you question us as human beings and the language we speak, and why we speak these words. This way my thoughts where changing during the book.

Bas speaks about the words we gave ourselves to communicate and give meaning to objects around us. But is this meaning we gave ourselves also the same for machines we create. A plane can fly. But why isn’t a boat swimming?

While reading this book and the philosophical hours with my classmates, I noticed that a problem or argument can be broken down completely. From this breakdown were emerging interesting questions.

“A robot can learn to program itself so it can teach themselves to want something.”

One of the questions emerged from this sentence was:

“At one point in our lives we learn to make choices by ourselves. By our own will. Does it mean that we are programmed in some way to make those choices? By our parents or social environment?”


Philosophy as a tool

After some lessons philosophy it makes you think differently about philosophizing. It is no longer a time of debate but a time when you think about a problem or issue surrounded by other smart thinkers.

You are forced to delve into the problem to convince others with founded arguments and vice versa. In addition, it could sometimes happen that the composition had a view from another perspective that you had not thought about yourself. It makes me curious so I immerse myself even more in these questions.

But what if this could be time boxed. So when a client comes with a problem that has to be solved. That different disciplines from the company philosophize about this problem so questions and answers emerge from this session. These answers can lead to ideas that were not thought about before.

I think when a company applies philosophy in their brainstorming sessions, their will be more innovative and creative ideas.

Finally this course about philosophy gave me … to explore a problem wider and deeper. It’s a tool that I will use in future projects. Surrounded with people from different disciplines It will help me to develop new and innovative ideas that were previously unthinkable.