Why Should We Study Philosophy? What Does Philosophy Do For Us?June 26, 2021
It is sometimes said that the study of philosophy is utterly pointless, since what philosophers do is sit meticulously and argue over the meanings of words. Philosophers do not appear to reach any conclusions, and they contribute almost nothing to society. The problems they discussed are still the same today as the ancient Greeks.
Philosophy seems to change nothing and leaves everything as it is. What then is the value of studying philosophy? It can even be dangerous in today’s society to question the basic assumptions of our lives: we may end up feeling paralyzed by too much questioning, losing the power to do anything.
Of course, a caricature of a philosopher is good at dealing with very abstract thoughts in a comfortable armchair in Oxford or Cambridge’s living room; but it is a depiction of someone so unsuccessful in tackling practical problems: someone who can explain the most difficult passage of Hegel’s philosophy; but he can’t even cook an egg. And what good is philosophy, except to explain concepts and anything by contemplating the race? Why is philosophy necessary?
For the Investigated Life
An important reason to engage with philosophy is that it deals with fundamental questions about the meaning of our existence. Most of us at a certain moment in our lives ask ourselves the fundamental questions of philosophy:
Why are we here? Is there any proof that God exists? Does our life have a specific purpose? What makes something right or wrong? Is it possible for us to be right when we break the law? Could our lives be just dreams? Is the mind different from the body or are we just physical beings? How does science progress? Do animals have rights? What is art? And similar questions…
Many people who study philosophy believe that it is important for each of us to explore such questions. Some even argue that an unexamined life is not worth living (See: Socrates). Maintaining a monotonous existence without investigating its underlying principles can be like driving a car that has never been serviced before.
You may be right to rely on its brakes, steering and engine because your car has never been disrupted; but you may also be completely wrong to rely on it; brake pedals can be faulty and fail when you need them most. Similarly, the principles that underlie our life may be entirely reliable, but you cannot be sure of that until you investigate them. However, even if you don’t really doubt the reliability of the assumptions that form the basis of your life, you may be impoverishing your life by not exercising your thinking power.
Many people find asking these basic questions either too demanding or too distracting to ask themselves: they can be happy and comfortable with their prejudices. But other than that, people have a strong desire to seek answers to tough philosophical questions.
Philosophy makes you think.
To Learn to Think
Another reason to engage with philosophy is that it provides a good way of thinking more clearly on many different topics. Philosophical thinking methods can be useful in a variety of situations.
Examining the arguments for and against a point of view, and then coming to a conclusion, unlocks skills applicable to other areas of life.
Many people who deal with philosophy can use their philosophical skills; apply to different professions such as law, computer programming, management consulting, public service and journalism; This is also true for all areas where clarity of thought is an important gain. In addition, philosophers also use the concepts they have acquired regarding the nature of human existence for art: some philosophers; They have also found success as novelists, critics, poets, filmmakers and playwrights.
Philosophy gives pleasure, makes happy.
Another justification for studying philosophy is that it can be a highly enjoyable activity for many.
There is something to be said for such a defense of philosophy. The danger of this is that it can be understood as a justification in which the activity of philosophy is reduced to solving crossword puzzles.
From time to time, some philosophers’ approach to the subject is like this: for some philosophers it becomes obsessed with solving vague logical puzzles as if it were an endpoint and having them published only in select journals.
In another extreme case, some philosophers working in universities see themselves as part of the “work” and publish their often mundane work in order to get “up” and promotion. They experience pleasure from seeing their name on paper, the increase in their income, and the prestige that comes with promotion. Fortunately, philosophy