I used to be impressed of individuals that are able to cite names — some obscure, others well-known — when discussing philosophy. Green with envy, I once tried to widen the scope of my reading in hope to achieve the same ability to refer to great philosophers like Kant, Smith and Ibn Khaldun whenever necessary, hoping to gain the same ability while impressing others. No more do I think as such.

While names are important for the purpose of discussing historical development of various thoughts, names themselves are irrelevant to ideas. One does not, should not, feel compelled to embrace liberty because Adam Smith espoused so. One should not have the impulse to do good because higher beings insist so. One should embrace liberty, or any idea, based on the merit of the idea itself. I am attracted to libertarianism not because of Hayek, or Smith, or Friedman or any other name associated with libertarianism. I accept that the Earth is spherical not because the Greek sages or the Muslim astronomers said so. I accept it because of the proofs that have been presented to me. I accept comparative advantage not because Ricardo said so but for its truth in governing trade.

Frequent reference to great thinkers during philosophical discussions outside of the realm of history of thoughts, of how thoughts developed over time, is nothing but an appeal to authority. It is a fallacy unworthy of those that seek to push the boundaries of ignorance farther away in the retreating darkness. It does not appeal to the mind, the original purpose of philosophy. Thus, I shall awe not at any utterance of another philosophers of old. It may show the person is well-read but it says nothing of his faculty. Of greater value is how one evaluates ideas and proofs on its own merit.

Those that incessantly cite names of great thinkers, respectfully, are missing the point of philosophy, unless rhetorics is the art they wish to pursue instead.

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