Ignore, ignorant, and ignorance

Is "ignore" the root of "ignorant" and "ignorance"? I suppose etymologically the three words must be related, maybe having the same Latin root, but in English "ignore" forms an interesting contrast in meaning with "ignorant" and "ignorance". Ignorance of X is lack of knowledge of X, but to ignore X one has to know of X in the first place, that is, one cannot ignore something that one is ignorant of.

However, if one ignores X, one will not be able to know X further than one already does. So, in a way, ignoring X does lead to ignorance of X. On this understanding, knowledge is a matter of degree, and so is ignorance.


Philosophy and masturbation

There are two things Karl Marx says about philosophy that I think every philosopher should give some thought to:

(1) Philosophy is to the real world as masturbation is to sex.
(2) The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

I don't think (1) is true of all philosophy, but it is easy to philosophize in such a way that all we are doing is no more than finding our way out of a conceptual maze we have created, a maze that does not tell us anything beyond itself. It would be fun, intellectually, if we got out of the maze, and in a sense this would be solving the problem. But we should also ask: Why does it matter?

As for (2), I am not sure philosophers should always try to change the world. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to think that some philosophy (such as social and political philosophy, normative ethics, and even some philosophy of mind) has the potential to change the world, though it may take a long time.

(1) and (2) are, of course, related. If one's philosophy is nothing but conceptual masturbation, it should be not expected to be able to change the world.


What's wrong with the unexamined life?

According to Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. Call this the Socratic view. Some would disagree with the Socratic view, insisting that an unexamined life can be flourishing, fulfilling, satisfying, happy, valuable, meaningful, and hence worth living. Call this the other view. I think the other view is correct, but there is a way of understanding the Socratic view so that it is compatible with the other view.

The Socratic view should be understood against the background of the question "How should I live my life?". Call this the Socratic question. Anyone can ask the Socratic question, but not everyone does ask it. But for a person who has asked the Socratic question, the only way to answer it is to examine her life so far and see how she should move on (or whether she should move on at all). To put it another way, a person who has asked the Socratic question is already self-reflective, and her attempt to answer it consists in having further self-reflection. If she finds an answer to the question and knows how she should live her life, that must also be a life that she thinks is worth living.

The Socratic view is thus true for a person who has asked the Socratic question, for it means no more than that a person cannot answer the question "How should I live my life?" and say, earnestly and firmly, "Yes, my life is worth living!" without having examined her own life.

On this understanding, the Socratic view is thoroughly first-personal. The other view, by contrast, is third-personal. It is possible for a person's life to be considered worth living by others while he himself does not have the belief that his life is worth living because he has not asked the Socratic question.