Five Card Story: Philosophy affect your personality and outlook in life?

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a Five Card Flickr story by Murphy created Nov 02 2020, 04:12:36 pm. Create a new one!

flickr photo credits: (1) cogdogblog (2) bionicteaching (3) keepps (4) Serenae (5) Serenae

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I don't think the study of philosophy will have a great impact, in most cases, on people who aren't philosophically inclined to begin with.

The popular status of philosophy as a "know-nothing, do-nothing" discipline comes from exactly those folks who aren't so inclined, because they fundamentally misunderstand the procedures and goals of philosophy and how they differ from, say, chemistry or engineering.

As an applied discipline, philosophy has lost a lot of ground over the past few centuries to specialized sciences. There's a sense in which this is as it should be: we've replaced metaphysics with cosmology and physics, and much of what had been the realm of epistemology is now handled by a mixture of linguistics, neuroscience, and psychology. That's evidence of progress, and nothing to be particularly sad about.

But philosophy, known as the "mother science," has lost virtually none of its potency and relevance to subjective values and ethics, to any number of human questions and issues that can't be solved by taking measurements and performing experiments. Philosophy is still quite adept at investigating what we care about, why we should (or shouldn't) care about it, and how we go about dealing with it. These are questions that are informed by what goes on in the lab, but cannot be directly addressed by the scientific methodology as we now understand it.

The soul of philosophy, the word itself means love of wisdom, remember, not love of specific quantifiable knowledge is critical thinking, and a willingness to rethink one's surest beliefs from the ground up. If you're the kind of person who, on encountering a system, immediately sets about thinking How can I make this system work best for me? then that's wonderful, and the world needs people like you; but philosophy is probably not your cup of tea. If, on the other hand, your first thoughts about a system are more likely to be in the vein of Why this system, and not another? then you'll probably benefit a great deal from philosophy and get much fulfillment and enjoyment from it.

Philosophy over the ages amounts to a living literature, a collected body of human thought: it is very much a literary study at its heart. In considering the issues and the various viewpoints on them, how they are both similar to and different from one another, and how some succeed in areas where others fail while failing in areas where others succeed, et cetera, you're likely to grow a great deal as a thinker and as a person, to simultaneously open and sharpen your mind by living vicariously, if you will, through the minds of many of civilization's brightest people.

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flickr photo credits: (1) cogdogblog (2) bionicteaching (3) keepps (4) Serenae (5) Serenae

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