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The utility of philosophy

UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.
Episteme
Posts: 2
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4/2/2015 1:13:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I am probably very likely to agree with you on this topic. What each individual considers of practical value would most certainly vary, though. Perhaps you mean to discuss practical value in a broader sense - on a societal level? Also, philosophy is quite a broad area to discuss. Metaphysics, for some, probably has no practical value to most people. I remember reading an article on whether holes exist, which to me was fascinating, but when I talk about it in circles other than the philosophy group I was with, it occasionally bored people. Epistemology, while I consider it an extremely important study, is not one that is in many cases truly necessary to everyday life. Some might say, 'Who cares if the zebra in the zoo I see is actually a white horse painted with black stripes?' Well, I know I would care, but there are some that might not - so long as they are seeing the representation of a zebra and not necessarily a zebra itself. Metaphysics and epistemology are my favourite areas within philosophy. However, I truly don't think they have a practical purpose for everyone.

Anyway, ethics appears to be a practical area of philosophy. To me, it's subjective, to my fianc", ethics is very much an objective study. He is the one very much into his politics and ethics. The discussions are used in everyday life matters to policies made by governments. In this sense an aspect of philosophy is potentially of the most practical value.

My main point is that philosophy is a very broad term. There are aspects of philosophy that have little practical value while there are other aspects of philosophy that potentially have the greatest of practical value. Also, practical value on an individual level is very different to what it would be on a societal level. Individuals have their own wants and desires while a society's general need is to make sure the majority of the individuals in society are happy to a certain extent.

At 4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,150
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4/2/2015 7:40:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.

Many philosophers would disagree with the statement that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses.
#2 could be changed to developing and refining epistemology and metaphysics in all disciplines, as well as individuals.
#3 can be scratched. I do not see why Science can not do that on its own. Philosophy does have veto rights over such issues, still, it seems to me it is the role of Philosophy to approve, disapprove, recommend, but up to Science to keep its own house in order.
#4 can be scratched since it is contained in 2.
#4 could be to establish ethics and morals for all disciplines and individuals.

In my mind this can all be summed up in the idea that Philosophy is about critical thinking, in all affairs that concern mankind, and that is its primary application.
The formalized branches of philosophy are handy for pigeonholing, but are social constructs. If we want to get down to the basics, I'm not sure such labels are necessary.

Anyone who denies that Philosophy is about critical thinking, or that there is a need for good critical thinking, or that it can be done without Philosophy,will suppose there is no need for Philosophy.
Garbanza
Posts: 1,997
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4/2/2015 8:12:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.

I suppose it's fairly obvious that refinement in "critical thinking" and "scientific hypotheses" is 1/ a good thing and 2/ something that can be developed through philosophical activity. Even so, it would be great if you could explain why you think that.
Raisor
Posts: 4,456
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4/2/2015 9:12:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.

Ethical systems guide actions...so there's that....
NoMagic
Posts: 507
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4/3/2015 9:24:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/2/2015 7:26:21 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I'm interested in this question and welcome anyone's response.

Many philosophers would agree that philosophy is not a way to obtain answers or results with respect to questions and hypotheses. However, many of us believe there is real practical value to philosophy in other ways. Here's an incomplete list of ways in which philosophy is actually useful, in a practical sense, in the real world. Please recommend items that you believe should be added to the list, and justify the reasons.

1. Improving critical thinking (clearly this is more of a pedagogical corollary of engaging in philosophy, but I will include it nonetheless).
2. Developing and refining the scientific method.
3. Developing and refining scientific hypotheses.
4. Developing and refining questions we can ask about reality and hypothetical realities.

Note that this is not a post suggesting that philosophy has no practical value. On the contrary, this is meant to start a discussion on what its practical value actually is, separated from what people simply believe about the practical value of philosophy.

You've stated that philosophy has a positive effect on what you've listed in 1-4. However, this is just, at this point, an unsupported claim. Can you explain how philosophy improves upon those things you listed. This way I can evaluate your reasoning and think about if you are correct or not.