Disrespect of philosophy

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Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 02:09 pm
Okay I am sure I am not the only person here who has faced some prejudice about philosophy. Many people say to me it's just about issues not have no real life implications and is for people who have too much time on their hands. There are also those who believe that the study of the subject teaches you important skills but don't appreciate the subject itself.

Now many people seem to engage in active philosophical debates or arguments generally in ethics and don't feel it's useless or will find thought experiments very interesting but when announced to be philosophy become hostile about it.

I'd like to see what you all feel about this view of philosophy many people have...

I feel it is foolish as philosophy is just another way of seeking truth and is willing and able to tackle questions that many find to fundamental to question, we must seek truth in all forms.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 02:37 pm
@UnMechanics,
I feel that philosophy is an expression of a given culture in a given time. It takes a lot more than ideas to change culture. Philosophy evolves in parallel with literature, art, politics, and culture, but in itself it does not change anything.
 
Vasska
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 03:28 pm
@Aedes,
Many people take philosophy to far and give it a bad name. Starting discussions about the most impossible objects, using agressive methods to get their answers and forcefeed you with statistics and non-arguments. I met plenty of them.

Next to that half of the people don't even know what philosophy is about and think it's a bunch of people to lazy (or to busy thinking) to get a propper job. So did I, until I got the better of it thanks to Wikipedia.

Anyhow many jobs/activities have this. Being in IT i've also got a lot of prejudice. Maybe even more than philosophy.
 
RDanneskjld
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 03:50 pm
@UnMechanics,
I run into this all the time. If I had a pound for everytime that I have been asked what is the purpose of doing a Philosophy degree. I would probably have about 33 Pounds, Im not one to exaggerate.

There is a definite lack of understanding about Philosophy. They see it as an outdated subject which isnt necessary anymore. The way of thinking that Philosophy demands from us, wont find many fans in a society that doesnt value thought, let alone abstract thought.

You will always meet me prejudice whatever you do, I believe and as many other's do that Philosophy is a worthwhile pursuit.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 05:46 pm
@UnMechanics,
UnMechanics wrote:
Okay I am sure I am not the only person here who has faced some prejudice about philosophy. Many people say to me it's just about issues not have no real life implications and is for people who have too much time on their hands. There are also those who believe that the study of the subject teaches you important skills but don't appreciate the subject itself.

Now many people seem to engage in active philosophical debates or arguments generally in ethics and don't feel it's useless or will find thought experiments very interesting but when announced to be philosophy become hostile about it.

I'd like to see what you all feel about this view of philosophy many people have...

I feel it is foolish as philosophy is just another way of seeking truth and is willing and able to tackle questions that many find to fundamental to question, we must seek truth in all forms.


The Value of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Here is an interesting point of view on the question by a great recent philosopher. It is worth reading.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 10:24 pm
@UnMechanics,
People who say such things do so because they have no education or are misguided into thinking philosophy as a cartoon character made to look foolish and ridiculous. Unfortunately, it is the same people who take propaganda as the truth, opinions to be ideas, and entertainment as their goal in life.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2008 10:59 pm
@UnMechanics,
When I first decided to go to school for philosophy (after dabbling in Electrical Engineering for a couple years) I tended to receive quite a bit of grief. As people realized that I am a good teacher when I want to be they typically laid off. Their prejudice against philosophy may have to do with some of the just down right horrible philosophy experiences they had due to terrible professors.

I could care less if none of my future students would want to major in philosophy. I just want them to take lessons that can make their lives more fulfilling through critical thinking.
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 03:36 am
@Theaetetus,
Ambrose Bierce's 'Devil's Dictionary' defines;
PHILOSOPHY, n. A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

How unusual are the psychological processes wherein people who cannot engage in 'critical thought' decry and belittle those who can. Fragile ego validation... We are all on the same continuum though, from 'moron' to 'genius'...
I have heard 'genius' belittle and decry 'morons', so ego is also a continuum...
Perhaps in a society that actually values 'critical thought' (not an attractive trait in the readily manipulable masses) such behavior would not be prominent? But ego does demand it's 'pound of flesh' nontheless!
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 04:17 am
@nameless,
When I had my master's degree I was almost afraid to write it on my cv. Some people would consider me as a weirdo, others as too critical, others as just a lazy bum, sitting in the sun and dreaming, producing ultimately nothing.

Now all these do describe a philosopher from one side (still working on that perspective stuff here, N.), and as we all know there's an opposite and more positive side to this. "Philosophers" being non-conformists (on points where it is essential), being in continuous dialogue with the world, producing what is essential, money and stuff being just a "means" to that end.

What I'm most proud off though is my "path", my own personal odyssee, consciously experiencing life, both life and thinking felt as a voyage, thinking being a continuous parallel to existence. And even more wonderful is the encounter with other people, "philosophers" or not. Some may even become your master without knowing it (while some others may know). Some others may be hateful bums (never be tolerant towards intolerance).

One more point: imho Ambrose Beirce will bring you nowhere! It's like placing a concrete wall before a marathon-runner, he can't even start. Imho there is more than making a pun, there is mistake and wonder and love... (just a personal experience here). The most dangerous enemy of philosophy being conceited and pleased with yourself. I always felt cynics as such, and we live in a cynical age.

Sorry to disturb. Please go on.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 06:51 am
@Catchabula,
I dont think you should be surprised, for most its an academic exercise that appears to classify itself as being aloof from mortal musing..Reading ancient history what benefit does it do the community as a whole is the usual response..Think yourself lucky that you are doing something you enjoy and if certain persons dont understand your purpose be philosophical..if you cant be philosophical who can...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 09:14 am
@UnMechanics,
We live in a technological age; we are surrounded by technological apparatus and expect all human endeavor to produce results that have an use. Science is applauded, for example, not because it studies nature, but because its results can be of use to us in the near future.

History, most of the arts, even philosophy is at risk when this point of view dominates; anything undertaken for its own sake is suspect from a practical, "cash-value" perspective that gives importance to the immediate here and now. Allied with this viewpoint is ego-centricism that results in economic and intellectual consumption at all costs as long as it results in amusement and entertainment, and a society that financially rewards those who contribute to these ends. When we are bored with something, we throw it away like a paper towel, and seek anything novel.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 04:05 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
We live in a technological age; we are surrounded by technological apparatus and expect all human endeavor to produce results that have an use. Science is applauded, for example, not because it studies nature, but because its results can be of use to us in the near future.

History, most of the arts, even philosophy is at risk when this point of view dominates; anything undertaken for its own sake is suspect from a practical, "cash-value" perspective that gives importance to the immediate here and now. Allied with this viewpoint is ego-centricism that results in economic and intellectual consumption at all costs as long as it results in amusement and entertainment, and a society that financially rewards those who contribute to these ends. When we are bored with something, we throw it away like a paper towel, and seek anything novel.

jolly:perplexed:
but sadly you have a point:Not-Impressed:
 
UnMechanics
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 04:28 pm
@UnMechanics,
I agree with the prestige of the arts and humanities decreasing. In academic areas people are turning away from those subjects even though they have a fundamental impact of our life....
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 04:42 pm
@Catchabula,
Catchabula;37360 wrote:
imho Ambrose Beirce brings you nowhere!

It seems to me that his scalpel sharp cynical wit might well bring a bit of 'Perspective' to already too serious and ego filled paradigms.
He offers some 'protection' against taking oneself too seriously, or anyone else.
Perspective.
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2008 05:16 pm
@nameless,
It's off-topic but I always felt A.B. as a triumph of the Ego. The guy knows sooo well, while he's just affirming his grumpy old self all the time. Talking about taking yourself seriously... Btw so much of the D.D. is just uninspired sh..

I err, master. I will kneel before the gods and sacrifice.
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 01:40 am
@Catchabula,
Catchabula;37419 wrote:
It's off-topic but I always felt A.B. as a triumph of the Ego. The guy knows sooo well, while he's just affirming his grumpy old self all the time.

You might be amazed at that very 'persona' manifested by so many 'gurus'. 'Artistic license'? 'Enlightened license' to be 'authentic'? I've seen the beauty in the rock! The 'grumpy/violently frightening' does serve to weed out the 'riff-raff'. The 'innocent' are fearless!

Quote:
Talking about taking yourself seriously...

Appearances? Cosmic mirror?

Quote:
Btw so much of the D.D. is just uninspired sh..

I certainly can't argue with youPerspective. I do find a few bits of gold amongst the dross; others find gold in what I thought dross.

Quote:
I err, master. I will kneel... and sacrifice.

A simple 'thank you' will suffice.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 04:08 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;37382 wrote:
We live in a technological age; we are surrounded by technological apparatus and expect all human endeavor to produce results that have an use. Science is applauded, for example, not because it studies nature, but because its results can be of use to us in the near future.
Well, a more pragmatic question is how does one plan to support one's self? Whatever the academic discipline one chooses, the fact remains that people eventually need an income that will support kids and their education, support retirement savings, support owning a car and a house, support paying back educational debt, etc. That's not to say that a degree in philosophy makes all this impossible, but there isn't as 'natural' a flow into well-paying jobs as there is in other fields. Of course that's not the most important consideration of all, but it's a lot easier for a 20 year old to idealize academic / intellectual martyrdom than it is for a 35 year old to do so.
 
PatrickM
 
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 09:56 pm
@Aedes,
philosophy's subject matter is pretty much useless in today's society. metaphysics and epistemology are so boring; i know things because nature correspondenses with my words for nature and that's that. I see things as they are, with perhaps a few mistakes here and there, not enough to go nuts like descartes did

but philosophy's method like critical thinking and debate is still useful; but these things can be found in any science like psychology, economics, and business

so philosophy (with the possible exception with ethics) is useless.
 
avatar6v7
 
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2008 10:47 am
@PatrickM,
PatrickM wrote:
philosophy's subject matter is pretty much useless in today's society. metaphysics and epistemology are so boring; i know things because nature correspondenses with my words for nature and that's that. I see things as they are, with perhaps a few mistakes here and there, not enough to go nuts like descartes did

but philosophy's method like critical thinking and debate is still useful; but these things can be found in any science like psychology, economics, and business

so philosophy (with the possible exception with ethics) is useless.

Philosphys 'subject matter' is the entire cosmos, is that meingless? What about theology? What about how philsophical views on the running of society- Platos Republic for instance?
To be blunt if Philosophy is no longer relevant to 'todays society' then maybe 'todays society' should take a long hard look at itself.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Sat 13 Dec, 2008 02:59 pm
@UnMechanics,
According to the September/October issue of Philosophy Now the Guardian gives the following advice to Philosophy graduates looking for a job:

"Being a Philosophy Graduate makes you different and quirky; turn that into your unique selling point. You will be better placed than most to formulate and deliver persuasive arguments. Put that to use in convincing employers that your conceptual analysis skills, ability to spot bogus rhetoric and to constructively challenge others thinking and beliefs are just what their organisation needs. You should, of course, phrase it in terms that won't scare them."

Seems decent practical advice to me. I'm not a Philosophy Graduate - but I would certainly say I'm an enthusiast - and I might make use of this list of suggestions in relevant interviews.

I think Ambrose Bierce is a genius myself - "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am" is top notch philosophy in my book. I think he makes some very good points about percieved reality and he's a folklorist of some fearsome dexterity too.
 
 

 
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