I wouldn't say I "practice" philosophy. It's not a religion, or a regimen, or a set exercises. I pursued my interests in philosophy because I loved the questions, the answers, and the arguments. The questions seemed fundamental, ones on which the intelligibility or proper interpretation of other disciplines turned and yet ones which other disciplines wouldn't touch. Nothing was off limits in philosophy, including the nature of philosophy itself, and I liked that. And I loved the answers that people gave -- not because I thought they were right, but because they were ingenious, comprehensive, perverse, frightening, beautiful. And finally, one didn't have to respect a view because of its popularity or its pedigree or what-have-you: all that counted were the arguments in its favor. Philosophy's playing field is as level as they come -- and I liked that too. But that's just me: please the response to Question 755 .
Hello. I have just read the introduction to this site and was interested in the "paradox" you mention -- that everyone confronts philosophical issues but not everyone has the opportunity to learn philosophy.
In my ears, this statement has a twinge of arrogance about it, and my question is whether you think philosophy must, almost necessarily, make its practitioners arrogant.
In the first place, regarding the claim itself: it seems that far from everyone confronts philosophical issues in their lives. Many people are confronted with practical issues, like how to get themselves out of poverty, or save their daughter from leukemia. Philosophy has nothing to offer here, it seems.
Secondly, still regarding the claim that everyone confronts philosophical issues: while it may be true that many people (though probably mostly wealthy people, no?) confront SOME philosophical issues, there seem to be a great many philosophical issues that would never occur to people to be interested in. Issues in the...
Your first point in your third paragraph appears confused. You say that many problems in everyday life are not philosophical. Agreed. Thus, the claim that all problems in everyday life are philosophical is refuted. But that wasn't the claim you set out to refute. You initially disagreed with the claim that many people confront philosophical problems throughout their lives. That might be true even though not all problems they confront are philosophical. In your fourth paragraph, you argue that many philosophical questions occur to no one in everyday life. Actually, I disagree with many of your examples, but let's accept the claim. (Go to a museum and you'll overhear people engaged in disputes about aesthetics, for instance. Or, more simply, just browse through this website's questions in Mind, History, etc., and you'll find plenty of questions from folks who clearly have no background in philosophy but who have philosophical questions in those just areas you claim people untutored in...
I have long wondered of some of the questions I have seen on this website and I am glad to see them answered after discovering this website. But I too have a question, more personal though. This message was not written with intent to be posted but I just wanted to ask everyone this. I have been following this site for a couple of weeks now. I am a sophomore in high school. My Algebra teacher often tells me things that make me "freak out". He once got so deep in this conversation about reality and the universe he just said "It gets to the point where you have to ask yourself, Is any of this any real?". My mind have been permanently scarred by thoughts of reality and I find myself shaking at night, scared, thinking of all these things especially while reading questions on the website. I have recently been showing my friend this site and he has had the same experiences as me. Now to get to the question. Have any of you almost "Lost your mind"? I mean like has your life been changed forever after...
Well, it is true that there are certain texts in philosophy that can induce a very weird, dizzying kind of feeling. (To name two texts that have had that effect on me: Descartes' First Meditation and the second chapter of Kripke's book on Wittgenstein.) And thinking about certain problems can give one a mental cramp and set off an anxious search for a way out of some awful corner one's painted oneself into. And it is also true, as Wittgenstein said, that listening to philosophers in conversation is sometimes like walking into a discussion in a mental asylum. But all that said, I don't think philosophy alone can induce mental illness. The healthy mind will bounce back from the brink when the time comes to prepare dinner, visit a relative, shop for food. And the unhealthy mind will fasten onto whatever complements the contours of its particular nature, be it philosophy, chess, politics, space travel, etc.
What is the best way to introduce philosophy to children? Are there any books specifically designed for this purpose?
In the lower right-hand corner of this page, you'll find a link to the site "Philosophy for Kids", set up by Professor Gareth Matthews of the University of Massachusetts, who has long been very interested in philosophy and children. At his website, you'll find suggestions, as well as links to other relevant websites.
philosohpy is for the stupid. now im not trying to offend but after reading some of your articles and some deep thinking it is. in my opinion (not to say my opinion is right or wrong) philosohphy is just big word for question and answering. its not a typical learning field, for example math and science your taught something you wouldnt know any other way. or atleast with out spending countless hours finding out yourself. so you cant say math is for the stupid. its for the inexperienced or unapplied mind. where as philosohpyQNA is common sense or ones opinion of whats right or wrong. and your born with common sense(please dont lecture me on how your not born with common sense you get the jist of what im saying) by the age of 18 your common sense you have then is pretty much all your gonna have for the rest of your life) so well say philosophy is for the stupid, unless your under 18 then its for the inexperieneced.
and a person who ask questions in the field of philosophy and doesnt know the answer is...
OK, so I enjoyed your spirited attack! I agree with you that philosophy isn't like mathematics or science. But where I think we fundamentally disagree is about your claim that philosophy is just a matter of common sense. In general, that's not so: many of the greatest philosophical positions utterly fly in the face of common sense. Many arguments in philosophy lead to conclusions that seem quite outrageous from a common sense point of view. In fact, one gripe that some philosophers have with much of philosophy is precisely that it flouts common sense and that, in so far as it does, it's gone off the rails. It may be true that sometimes philosophers just tell you what your grandmother already knew. But (a) often that's not the case and (b) when it is the case, it's usually because the philosopher believes he or she's managed to wrestle down some outrageous beast that threatened your grandmother's claim to knowledge (sometimes, protection of the commonsense requires a detour through some pretty wild...
I would like to study the impact of entertainment and marketing on people. How would studying philosophy help me to that end? Are there particular types of philosophy courses that would help? Particular philosophers?
It wouldn't. There aren't. No. I think you might get more from courses in psychology, sociology, or anthropology. While many philosophers are interested in factual matters, they don't usually tend to be such specific and applied ones.
There is no reason to think that a simple question must have asimple answer. The question "Why are there tides?" is very simple; agood answer to it is very complicated. But maybe you think thequestions philosophers give complicated answers to can be answered verysimply. In which case, you should write up some of those simple answersand post them on the Google group associated with this site. Let's seewhat people think of them! You might also be wondering why simplequestions often tend not to be amenable to simple answers. Well, that'sa good simple question and I suspect it has no simple answer! Often,questions in philosophy ask for an explanation of some notion. Andoften, a philosopher's conception of what a good explanation looks likeis similar to that of a scientist: a general account that makes use ofa few notions in terms of which a few basic claims are formulated fromwhich a wide range of phenomena follows. In other words, philosopherslook for theories . And theories, because they seek to...
I would like to know if someone is interested in philosophy but do not from where should start, how do you guide? Suppose it is not possible to be involved in academic courses and just as a personal life someone is going to study in this field.
See Question 363 for a few references to some works that provide an introduction to philosophy. If you have a local library, you might also consult its reference librarian.
The question I have arises from a number of phenomena I have noticed of late. One is that a number of reasonably respected philosophers have publicly made asses of themselves by demonstrating serious ignorance of the empirical data available in the recent evolution/ID 'controvercy'; a second is that there have been a lot of suggestions that unsupported pseudo-scientific hypotheses (such as 'irreducible complexity') should be assigned to the philosophy classroom (as a kind of dumping-ground for ill-thought-out ideas); and the third is that a lot of the most promising philiosophy seems to be coming from 'thinking scientists' (in neuroscience, physics, and so on) rather than from professional thinkers.
So, is there a crisis in philosophy? Science - at least in principle - is grounded in the systematic study of verifiable phenomena; a scientist whose knowledge outside of science is weak and who has little philosophy may not be satisfying as a person but as a scientist can still produce work with real meaning...
See also Question 169 and Question 220 .
When you get past the rhetoric on 'most convincing arguments and logical reasoning', are people's preferences for a certain type of philosophy merely subjective 'taste'?
I don't think it's rhetoric. Philosophers (and people generally) dochange their positions on the basis of the arguments. Maybe you thinkit should happen more often than it does. But theforce of arguments is one that makes itself felt regularly inphilosophy. That said, I think there is something to the claim thattaste plays a role inshaping the kinds of problems, answers, arguments, examples, etc. thatappeal to a philosopher. But why the deflationary "merely subjective"?Certainly, the importance of taste isn't felt just in philosophy; it's felt as well in the natural sciences and mathematics (not to mention most other human pursuits).