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Why study/read/think about philosophy?

WW
Posts: 100
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10/27/2012 11:40:13 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I've been asked a couple of times questions like this and my initial response is "because." I've never really thought about it, I mean, I knew that philosophy isn't going to have many day-to-day practical benefits, but why study philosophy? On that note, why do anything?

So far, my answer to the question still is "because."
Clash
Posts: 220
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10/27/2012 2:24:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/27/2012 11:40:13 AM, WW wrote:
I've been asked a couple of times questions like this and my initial response is "because." I've never really thought about it, I mean, I knew that philosophy isn't going to have many day-to-day practical benefits, but why study philosophy? On that note, why do anything?

So far, my answer to the question still is "because."

Well, one answer may be that you will definitely learn and gain a lot of knowledge in regards to many different philosophical issues. I do myself read some philosophical ideas/views now and then, but I gave up trying to really learn and read about philosophy when I realised that philosophy is essentially just about many different people - from many different places - talking about many different philosophical views and giving their opinions on these philosophical views.

For example, take Epistemology. Here we have several people and beliefs giving several different views and opinions on it (i.e., What is knowledge and its nature, etc). It's mostly just people's opinions. You have to yourself decide which philosophical view (mostly founded by one or another person) is the most reasonable one.
pozessed
Posts: 1,034
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10/27/2012 2:41:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/27/2012 11:40:13 AM, WW wrote:
I've been asked a couple of times questions like this and my initial response is "because." I've never really thought about it, I mean, I knew that philosophy isn't going to have many day-to-day practical benefits, but why study philosophy? On that note, why do anything?

So far, my answer to the question still is "because."

I myself consider philosophy to be the rationalization of day to day thoughts.
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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10/27/2012 4:29:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'm a philosophy major about to graduate and I could write pages on this topic, but I'm going to keep it brief and just say that it helps enormously with critical thinking. A good philosophy education immensely broadens your perspective, and it's easy to see why. If all you have a science education, your use to doing work that is either good or bad in view of certain equations, laws, or rules within the field that are generally beyond question. It's just a matter of matching your work to meet the standards of the field. With philosophy it's much different because the issues we deal with are much deeper, and you need to think critically about the nature of objectivity and truth. To really know a philosopher is to be able to immerse yourself in a mindset - a worldview - and through this process you gain an immense amount of scope.
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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10/27/2012 4:52:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I don't have much of a background at all in philosophy, but let me elaborate, if only very briefly though.

Philosophy is a very good area to learn about the development of thought. As exemplified in Russell's The History of Western Philosophy , many thinkers are influenced by their surroundings - philosophy became more subjective after Alexander for a time, which matches the more anarchic state of the Mediterranean. Russell's book also manages to elaborate on a great deal of other important trends.

Political philosophy also has a strong influence on law. Think 'nation states' , Lockean balance of powers, and of course, the French and American revolutions. We can also see Marx's conceptions having a multitude of effects.

Also, philosophy, like other fields, can formalise your thoughts. For instance, one thing I now ardently hold to is the following:

I lean towards consequentialism, if loosely. Does this mean that the ends justify the means? No. An end is desirable ceteris paribus. However, the achievement of an end is nearly never achieved ceteris paribus as the means themselves are another end! To think of a single end is to limit your thought process, and is one reason why deontology has some reasonable attacks on a strict form of consequentialism. Hence my philosophy of a loose consequentialism.

That could be made more concise, but the point is that philosophy helped my formulate those ideas.

I could go on, but I shall not.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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10/27/2012 5:18:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Why not?
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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10/27/2012 6:55:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
"Philosophy is merely thought that has been thought out. It is often a great bore. But man has no alternative, except between being influenced by thought that has been thought out and being influenced by thought that has not been thought out. The latter is what we commonly call culture and enlightenment today. But man is always influenced by thought of some kind, his own or somebody else's; that of somebody he trusts or that of somebody he never heard of, thought at first, second or third hand; thought from exploded legends or unverified rumours; but always something with the shadow of a system of values and a reason for preference. A man does test everything by something. The question here is whether he has ever tested the test."

G.K. Chesterton
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sadolite
Posts: 8,834
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10/27/2012 7:43:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
If you only do what produces prosperous and positive results that is the only philosophy you need to concern yourself with. All the otheres are designed to distract yiou from doing so.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

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socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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10/28/2012 12:52:26 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
-It's pragmatically useful as it facilitates reasoned thinking. Even if you don't always find the right answer you're looking for in philosophy, training your mind to think philosophically is immensely useful in matters of everyday problem solving or analysis.

-It's aesthetically pleasing to certain people i.e., read Kierkegaard or Camus and tell me you don't find them to just be pure poetry.

-It's intrinsically valuable in discerning answers to higher order questions, as in those pertaining to metaphysics and epistemology.

-It's basically just meta-everything. Science says X, but how do we develop the standards of what constitutes sound science? Government A says B, but how do we know which governments are just and what legislation is legitimate? People think X but what constitutes thinking? Philosophy of science, law, and mind are the fields which we look to for answers to these meta questions respectively.

-It's fun-- the best reason of them all.
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unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
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10/28/2012 11:33:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/27/2012 6:55:42 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
"Philosophy is merely thought that has been thought out. It is often a great bore. But man has no alternative, except between being influenced by thought that has been thought out and being influenced by thought that has not been thought out. The latter is what we commonly call culture and enlightenment today. But man is always influenced by thought of some kind, his own or somebody else's; that of somebody he trusts or that of somebody he never heard of, thought at first, second or third hand; thought from exploded legends or unverified rumours; but always something with the shadow of a system of values and a reason for preference. A man does test everything by something. The question here is whether he has ever tested the test."

G.K. Chesterton

That is essentially my response as well. "Doing philosophy" is simply unavoidable whenever we are discussing anything important - be it history, science, knowledge or God. There are only 2 options. One is to be informed of the issues and try to aware of our limitations, biases and the pitfalls of irrationality and rectify them as best we can. The other option is the Dawkins/Atkins route. By dismissing philosophy, these folks don't cease doing philosophy. They just do philosophy badly and make lots of errors, assumptions and so on, and end up contradicting themselves or making routinely fallacious statements (i.e. Dawkins's dismissal of morality while simultaneously showing moral indignation at the Catholic Church).

In short, if we value rationality and drilling down to examining the core of our beliefs and how these reflect reality, philosophy is a valuable tool.
Seremonia
Posts: 114
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10/28/2012 8:40:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
In a short, Philosophy is "love wisdom".

Why study/read/think about philosophy?

- To clarify the essential of things and to see practical of things and to be directed (to be used) to know our priorities and further this can be used to put us on proper conditions (adjustment) for ourselves and for other things.
I am free not because I have choices, but I am free because I rely on God with quality assured!
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,718
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10/28/2012 8:50:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Philosophy allows us to question what we believe. The utility of it is essentially to remove subjectivity.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,718
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10/29/2012 12:00:58 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/28/2012 11:30:46 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Not a useful question--everything eventually reduces to philosophy, including questions about why one would pursue it in the first place.

My philosophy is that "nothing reduces to philosophy." How do you tackle that one Mr. Franklin?
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
WW
Posts: 100
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10/29/2012 7:03:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/29/2012 12:00:58 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/28/2012 11:30:46 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Not a useful question--everything eventually reduces to philosophy, including questions about why one would pursue it in the first place.

My philosophy is that "nothing reduces to philosophy." How do you tackle that one Mr. Franklin?

lol :D

Btw, thanks for the response, guys, it really has broadened my perspective.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,123
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10/29/2012 5:06:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/29/2012 12:00:58 AM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 10/28/2012 11:30:46 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Not a useful question--everything eventually reduces to philosophy, including questions about why one would pursue it in the first place.

My philosophy is that "nothing reduces to philosophy." How do you tackle that one Mr. Franklin?

Oh that one is easy:

1. Why would something reduce in the first place?
2. Why would nothing do anything?
3. What could nothing reduce to if not philosophy?
4. What is nothing?
5. How could we know if/when nothing HAS reduced to philosophy?
6. If nothing DID reduce to philosophy, does that not mean that something has reduced to philosophy, since the entity known as 'nothing' reduced to it?

Done for now.
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