Oftentimes people would ask, “What is your philosophy?” or “Do you have a philosophy?” When they do ask those questions, by philosophy, they are essentially referring to a guiding view that determines how people approach the world and live their lives. So, my general philosophy is humanism. That is what I would answer if people ask me if I have a philosophy. And note, earlier, one of the assignments was to define what philosophy is. What I attempted to define was the academic discipline of philosophy, not the personal philosophy mentioned here.
In addition to being a humanist, I have few more specific philosophies related to various areas of my life, and these do not contradict human; indeed, they go very nicely with humanism. In science, I am a skeptic. I believe in the scientific method because how successful it is, and I question claims that are not backed up by empirical evidence. In politics, I am a libertarian because I believe in the importance of economic and social freedom. In religion, I am an atheist since I don’t see any evidence supporting the existence of God, and rather, I see a lot of evidence supporting his inexistence.
Elliot Sober mentions that personal philosophies are important to how one lives his life, but are difficult to prove. True, they are difficult to prove. But, I can give a lot of reasoning and evidence as to why I hold on to one philosophy as opposed to another. Why am I a skeptic? That is because history shows us how superstitious human beings can be, and how a lot of “paranormal” phenomena can be explained using science. Science can provide perfectly natural explanations as to why people supposedly see “ghosts.” And, I have Ockham’s razor on my side.
Why am I an atheist? That is because empirical evidence shows how unlikely it is for God to exist. Honestly, the previous sentence really isn’t a matter of opinion. It is about as much of an opinion as this sentence: Empirical evidence shows how likely it is for atoms to exist. A lot of theists agree with me on this point and take God on faith.
As seen, I cannot prove that any of my personal philosophies are “right.” But, I can provide a lot of evidence and reasoning to show why they might be “right.” Honestly, I think my personal philosophies are more “right” than others, for lack of a better word; if I did not think this way, then I would not hold on to my philosophies. (One of you is probably going to say, “This isn’t a matter of right or wrong!”)
I find the last question to be somewhat vague. In any case, a lot of philosophers have their own personal philosophies, though many want to be thought of thinkers and nothing else. If they do have their own personal philosophy, it may influence the way they teach philosophy and “do” philosophy. It may very well influence their own philosophical ideas, to the point where their ideas become a part of their personal philosophy. Some philosophers though, like Nietzsche, are so varied in their philosophical ideas that it is hard to say whether or not they have a personal philosophy, or if their philosophical ideas are influenced by their personal philosophy.