Monday, 6 April 2009

Is Philosophy Practical?

For whose who wonder about the role of Philosophy, the following is adapted from Tom Morris' answer in "Philosphy For Dummies".

What is it for something to be practical? Something is practical if it helps you to realize your goals. If your goals include knowing who you really are, what life in this world is all about, and what’s ultimately important, then philosophy is eminently practical. 

The greatest philosophers always seek to understand life. They want to attain the deepest perspective they can about this world and about another world that may exist. They take nothing for granted but question and probe in search of illumination, insight, and what some call ‘enlightenment.’

Philosophers want to understand the context within which we live and move and exist. They ponder the most important things in life. They tackle head on some of those most fundamental issues that we too often dance around and never really address.

What illusions are you living under right now? What things do you value that really lack the importance you attribute to them? What could you be ignoring that is really of true value? What assumptions are you making about your life that may be based on appearances and not realities? Most people are chained down by all sorts of illusions. It is the goal of philosophy, to help us all break those chains.

Can philosophers argue endlessly over ultimate issues? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that there are no answers or that the answers don’t matter. There is wisdom to be had in life even where strict proof is not available. And philosophy is the search for the wisdom.

In their look at the great philosophical questions, philosophers ask basic and probing questions about what it is to be a human being in this world, what life is all about, and how we can live in the most satisfying ways. 

However, in philosophy, ultimately, there are no authoritative experts. Consult your intuitions. Philosophy is, at its best, a passionate commitment to pursuing and embracing the most fundamental truths and insightful perspectives about life.


Sue said...

Very nice. I often wonder if there is a correct answer. I guess there are as many correct answers to the question "What is the meaning of life" as there are people who ask it...

Netizen101 said...

You are right Sue. There is never just one answer but many answers. It all depends of how you look at it, from whose point of view, and from which angle, or side you look at it.
Who is to say who is right and who is wrong.