Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The need for philosophy.

One of the most annoying things about philosophy students is their propensity to jerk off their mental meat. To argue for the sake of arguing. To sit in a comfy chair, think really hard, and go to sleep under the impression that they have done something of importance. They rarely think of real applications to their thoughts, because that may require work.

Even professors are guilty of this. They obsess over minutiae that can never have any effect on our life. The subtle arguments for skepticism, or the bizarre details of metaphysics. Philosophers have dug so deeply into arguments as to render many of them arguably semantic and undoubtedly beyond every-day application.

Where can philosophy be used?! It can be, I know it. I apply it to my own life. Especially for those who count themselves religious. A large part of your life is based on a subject that is the explicit purview of philosophy. It certainly applies and you would be an idiot to not dive, headlong, into full study.

Philosophy often gets marginalized. Graduating classes are small, and post-graduate work is limited to jobs at Starbucks with the English majors. I think it should be the focus of philosophy classes to try and find applications for students and force philosophy on the popular view. Integrate philosophy into other endeavors.

We must find applications. Without them, what point is there to whole mess? Even after my previous mocking of English majors, there are obvious applications to understanding the language and its corresponding literature. Books entertain. Words inform. A good English major is a highly valuable resource. But a good philosophy major? What the fuck do they do?

I see philosophy as, ideally, the quest for truth. The search through the fog of reality to achieve enlightenment. But for real applications, I see philosophy as learning how to think as opposed to learning about what to think. Science is learning how to analyze, but how did science decide at what point we know something? Through philosophy. I see it at the root of every intellectual quest we have.

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