TLDR: Write your philosophy of life in 500-words or less. Schedule a philosophical audit once every three months to refine, revise, or outright rewrite your philosophy.
Last month, I participated in a private experiment called Discovering Wisdom, which is set to resume this coming Thursday. This experiment, now available exclusively to members of Less Foolish, includes a "flash philosophy"1 exercise where participants are tasked with composing 500-word essays detailing their personal life philosophies.
This exercise is inspired by the flash philosophy initiative spearheaded by M.G. Piety, professor of philosophy at Drexel University. The main idea: philosophy papers need to be shorter, as they are becoming too long for most to engage with. Inspired by the literary genre of "flash fiction," this method is tailored to the fast pace of modern digital life.
Flash philosophy facilitates an efficient exchange of philosophical thought, enriching the dialogue among not just professional philosophers but also those beyond the academic sphere. A lot of good argumentation can be packed within short papers, with Edmund Gettier's 3-page "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge" as a prime example. A more modern example is the 1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology website, which consists of original 1000-word essays on arguments in philosophy written by academic philosophers.
Primarily, engaging in flash philosophy requires courage, as assigning a word limit allows one to present one's conclusions yet may not provide sufficient space to address every counterargument. Many people are writing philosophy out of fear of being challenged and their premises undermined, leading them to engage in excessive premise guarding2 that leads to argumentative bloat, resulting in dull and unreadable papers.
The flash philosophy approach is ideal for the emerging non-academic practical philosophy movement3 that Less Foolish is a part of. I propose a 500-word philosophy exercise about one's philosophy of life and the premises currently guiding them. It is advisable to conduct a philosophical audit on your life philosophy quarterly because once your philosophy meets reality, reality tends to push out foolish premises.
To help you write a 500-word philosophy, consider stating your positions on the core branches of philosophy, starting with ethics. However, if you only have room for only one branch, always choose what is good.
I highly recommend this exercise and encourage posting it on your Substack, linking the Less Foolish Substack and Thursday’s Discovering Wisdom experiment. To participate in Discovering Wisdom and upcoming experiments (more will be coming), become a paid subscriber to Less Foolish.
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