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Dear Socrates

Dear Socrates

Having traveled from the turn of the Fourth Century B.C. to the turn of the Twenty-First Century A.D., Socrates has eagerly signed on as a Philosophy Now columnist so that he may continue to carry out his divinely-inspired dialogic mission.

Dear Socrates,

I am a newcomer to philosophy and have been amazed at some of the views that some philosophers take seriously. For example, Descartes questioned whether he was awake and not just dreaming when he was really awake. And Berkeley went so far as to argue that even when we are awake we are dreaming (as it were) to believe that there is a physical world. Then if we look at some Oriental philosophies, they tell us that everything is an illusion, even the existence of ourselves! It looks to me like people go insane when they take up this sport you call “love of wisdom.” Please explain.