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Philosophy is not meant to be applied to everyday life.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 973 times Debate No: 54017
Debate Rounds (3)
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I will be arguing that Philosophy is NOT meant to be applied to everyday life. My Opponent will be arguing that it is.
Round 1 is for acceptance.


Debate Round No. 1


"Philosophy" is defined as: A theory or attitude held by a person or organization that acts as a guiding principle for behavior.
In other words, "Philosophy" is a generalization describing vaguely how individuals should act. Because it's a generalization, no given philosophy can ever be right, and is thus going to be misinterpreted by individuals.

For example,
Common philosophical phrase: ""What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others;" -- Confucius
But what this quote fails to accept is that everyone is an individual with different values and beliefs. Keeping this in mind would in no way help guide someone in a diverse culture.



Ha! That's beautiful. I love this new philosophy of not applying philosophy to everyday life. So that means I shouldn't apply your philosophy either, right? But then that means It's fine to apply philosophy to my life again since I'm ignoring yours. But then that means I could also apply your philosophy again, and what do we end up with? That's right, an endless loop of contradiction. But anyway, putting that little problem aside...

As you said, philosophies are guiding principles. Although most don't work under every situation, there are actually some that do apply all the time. The main philosophy I go by is "Do what results in the most happiness, both for you and others, both now and in the future". If that fails, you're doing it wrong. I doubt anyone could follow that very well, but hey, it doesn't hurt to try.

With more inconsistent philosophies, it is often a matter of interpretation, or what you can take away from them. Take for an example your Confucius quote. You're not delving quite deep enough into it for it to make complete sense. Say, for example, you have a friend who wants you to attend a religious coming of age ceremony or something. Of course, you wouldn't want anyone to attend yours, because you don't even celebrate it. You have to put yourself completely in their shoes and think more along the lines of if you would want your friends to respect your beliefs, be proud of your accomplishments, and celebrate with you when you're happy, or something like that. Most people would.
Debate Round No. 2


Your arguments are better than I expected.
Your arguments:
1. An endless loop of contradiction
2. 'There are actually some that do apply all the time' i.e. "Do what results in the most happiness, both for you and others, both now and in the future"
3.'With more inconsistent philosophies, it is often a matter of interpretation'
1. Just proves my point. In context, there is no contradiction. When I wrote 'Philosophy is not meant to be applied to everyday life' it implied all other philosophies. But what you really said is that it could be misinterpreted to have a completely different meaning, which is my basis that Philosophy can't be used to guide an individual in everyday life. As an argument, you still haven't proven that my concept is in any way wrong.

2. There are not any philosophies that apply in every given situation or interpretation. Your example, 'Do what results in the most happiness, both for you and others, both now and in the future,' fails to acknowledge that someone cannot in any way know what would 'result' in most happiness unless looking back in hindsight. More so, the quote refers to 'others.' Who are others, everyone? Do you strive more for your happiness or mine?
If you take the quote "The end justifies the means," this quote in no way can be applied by anyone. Similar to your quote, no one can know the RESULT before the action. So it does not matter even if the end really does justify the means.

3. Yes, with inconsistent (all) philosophies my point is that" it IS a matter of interpretation. Because of this, it doesn't matter that some people can accurately interpret one philosophy in ONE given situation. Since all philosophy is a matter of interpretation, it will be misinterpreted, or applied incorrectly. Philosophy is not meant to be applied to everyday life, because the idea any quote presents cannot be accurately followed by an individual.
Rather than just thinking of the affect philosophy has on an individual, how much does it really impact them?

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: psychological conflict resulting from incongruous beliefs and attitudes held simultaneously

Cognitive dissonance is the concept of how individuals act after doing something against their beliefs. The general response to cognitive dissonance is that an individual changes their beliefs. For example, someone does something immoral. Most would 'rationalize' and say to themselves something like 'Not a big deal,' 'doesn't matter' or might question the basis of morality. Either way, it's how people justify their actions: They change their beliefs. The main concept is that actions affect beliefs more than beliefs affect actions. So philosophy in comparison doesn't really guide an individual if the individual's actions are what influence them. If anything, an individual would adopt a philosophy in response to one of their actions and just as soon change it after another action. Because philosophy is meant to guide someone, it fails to do so when actions determine beliefs. Rather than guiding or influencing an individual, all it really does is act as a third wheel.

1. Philosophy can't guide an individual because an individual cannot interpret it correctly.
2. If actions determine beliefs, then it is the individual's actions that are 'guiding' them not the philosophy. Because philosophy's purpose is to guide (": to direct or influence the thoughts or behavior of") someone, it fails to do so if someone's actions already have determined their beliefs.



1. Your are not arguing that philosophy is not meant to be applied to everyday life, with exceptions. It is that philosophy is not meant to be applied to everyday life. Period. There is definitely a contradiction, unless yours isn't meant to be applied either.

Everything else: Correct me if I'm wrong, but from your arguments it almost seems like you are thinking of "philosophies" as nothing more than quotes about life. They're more than that though. By definition, a philosophy is an attitude, or a theory. They are everything we have to guide us in life. Without them, we would be animals. Wandering around following only our instincts and immediate desires. Is that what humanity is supposed to be like?

Many attempts are made to simplify entire attitudes toward life into a few sentances or so, and although they often end up quite poetic and thought provoking, in the end it is a persons own philosophies that will be most useful to them, and yes, those are philosophies. Even if we are talking about philosophical quotes, they can still be, to a reasonable extent, "applicable or relevant" (Apply, definition 2). Saying a well thought out philosophical quote is not at all relevant to life, in any way, would be a ridiculous notion.

philosophy definition
attitude definition
Debate Round No. 3
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