While some reading in the philosophic tradition is as useful as some level of formal education in the subject, it is by no means a prerequisite for participation in Philforum. There is a difference between learning philosophy and doing philosophy, and the latter is open to anyone willing to provoke his own thinking and framing his responses in a clear, careful, and distinct manner, providing rational argumentation for a position or idea.
What makes Philforum unique is that it attempts to provide a "clearing" for discussion between "professional" philosophers and an interested general audience as well as a "training ground" where one can both learn the tradition and attempt, by communication of thoughts, improve the ability to think in a philosophical manner. And this without intellectual violence or personal insults.
What is needed, to echo Heidegger, in this
age when everyone has "thoughts" about everything under the sun, is to encourage genuine, articulate, and philosophical thinking about significant questions perennial to mankind.
What is also needed is a place where "beginners" whether students or individuals, can both learn the tradition and practice the skills of philosophic discourse and thinking through discussion, argumentation (in the best sense of the word), and debate about ideas.
I take this to be the import of this forum's Mission Statement; it is certainly the reason for my being here.