It matters if it matters to you. If you don't care, no need for you to think about it. If you do care, and if it interests you, then you should think about these things, and discuss them. Frankly, does it matter whether it matters or not?
I strongly disagree with this way of thinking. I cannot even begin to count the number of things that do matter in our lives and will matter even if we try to ignore them. From everyday practical things such as ignoring our taxes and road traffic to less practical things such as observing the effects of nuclear radiation on the environment over thousands of years. Each one of these things are present and influence our lives in countless ways.
I think this line of thinking is an offspring to a more important thought, which is why should/do certain things matter to us and other things should/do not. We are born and raised by our families, friends, and culture to care about certain things and to take interest in them. The question of what we should care about is given to us by these three groups nearly everyday. If such influences were removed, then is usually agreed upon (by most biologists, cognitive scientists, and other animal observers) that the things we would only care about are things which would satisfy our base desires--such as eating and sleeping. In any case, the point being is that we are not in such a simplistic situation where we are not influenced by other humans. Therefore the strain of thinking of such dull advice as "It matters if it matters to you" helps not one person in deciding how to balance all of the varied cares that are given to us on a daily basis. Most problematic is that all of these cares are usually conflicting, therefore having more objective ways to sort through them is desired. If not desired, then each of us would have no choice in what we personally care about--something which contradicts how any kind of care
arose to begin with.
But this is one of the many reasons that philosophy emerged. One of the uses of philosophy is to make inquiries into the nature of the things which we can care about. To organize, systematize, and formulate the reasons as to why we should care about some things over other things is one of the main roles of Ethics. Therefore, to move onto answering markoos
' question, I believe it is essential to let people understand the proper role of philosophy.
Many of us being professional philosophers know how very important philosophical inquiry is into giving other fields understanding into what they are doing and to also be important, if not essential, movers in forming the directions in which they move. No historicist or observer of the ontology of a given field is ignorant of fact that most conceptual and important breakthroughs are made by those in their fields with the philosophical inclination. Whether it be Einstein and the early physicists inquiry into the meaning of measurement, early philosophers such as Hume, Bacon and Archimedes study of cause/effect and scientific
inquiry, or even contemporary biologists inquiry into the meaning of life. Philosophers should no more ask that all other fields drop their studies to focus solely on the philosophical aspects than people of other fields should ask philosophers to be experts in the 'data' of all fields (because our philosophical inquiry permeate through all fields). However, to a similar degree, it is essential that all fields at minimum make aware the other fields which are playing the most immediate roles into their inquiry. It just so happens that the nature of philosophy threads itself fundamentally through all things because all inquiry has arisen from philosophy at some point. Any great scholar is going to be aware of the history of their field of study; and anything less than such is to invite wasted effort and repeated failures.
Philosophy does not teach you how to live you life nor does it explore the root of the universe or provide any sort of conclusive evidence towards anything. By these meassures, philosophy is useless.
But it DOES teach us new ways of thinking, opens possibilities, adds perspective to many subjects which are commonly just schools of information rather than schools of thought.
In this way, philosophy is one of the most important things in the world.
Philosophy does teach us how to live our life. Simply practicing philosophy is a way of living different from those who do not. More specifically, philosophy is a springboard into Justified True Beliefs (JTBs) and it is beliefs which move us to action. The very nature of ethical inquiry is aimed at answering two questions: (1) What should I do and (2) What sort of person should I be. In honesty, I cannot think of a field which affects how to live our life moreso than
I agree that philosophy does not explore the root of the universe (whatever that may be) and also that it does not in and of itself provide conclusive evidence towards anything. However, there is neither one field which provides conclusive evidence. What philosophy does do is provide the coherence and cohesiveness between all of these different fields and thus positions itself as an essential element in allowing conclusiveness to be possible. This is because conclusiveness can only be so through the acclimation of all evidence, something which require all fields to be present.