Write 500 words on this: “How important is it for a person to summarize his philosophy of life in an early chapter of an autobiography?”
I do not think that an author should tell about he philosophy of life in the beginning of his autobiography. I believe that if they give a detailed enough account of their life their philosophies and opinions will be evident. This way you get more of a real account of their philosophy than the picture of them that they want the world to see. If they write about their philosophy right at the beginning they can say anything that they want but if they avoid their philosophies altogether the reader can piece together what they believe in by what they write and their actions. It makes it a lot harder to fake stuff.
In Walden Thorough wrote about his philosophies early on in the book and the result was that he can now be called a hypocrite. If he had not written about his philosophy at the beginning of the book it would have been a pretty decent book about how he lived in the woods for a few months and his life during that time. It would have been a simple, interesting read. Instead he tried to make it look like he had found the secret of the universe and turned out to be a hypocrite.
Another reason for not proclaiming your philosophies at the start of your book, is that if you do that you have a standard that you have to follow. You have to prove that you have lived your life according to your philosophy, and that you really believe in what you are openly advocating. This was where Thorough messed up, he set a standard and then failed miserably in proving that he actually followed it. He denounced things and then proceeded to do them right after.
Overall I would say that discussing your philosophies at the beginning of your book is a bad idea. First, it makes it easier for the author to paint a good picture of himself when he really might not be so good. Second, if you to that you have a standard to uphold. Third, it is better for the reader to find that out himself.