How many people even know what the word means?
That is one definition I would agree with, however it is not helpful to a person who already is not thinking very much. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but this definition cites the “principles of being/knowledge/conduct” as what is being investigated. Who actually considers what exactly the principles of being are without already being a budding philosopher or some other category of academic?
Philosophy is the art of thinking.
It is something you can step back and admire, when it is someone else’s like when you study a non-fiction book. It is also something you can choose to participate in and create your own thoughts! 🙂 That is it. It can be that simple.
Is there such a thing as good thinking and bad thinking? I would argue that yes, this is what the practical purpose of philosophy is- to instill good thinking into as many minds as possible.
What is good thinking? The short answer is thinking that is consistent and does not contradict itself. There is a lot to unpack in that answer if you haven’t explored what exactly thinking consistently means but I’ll have to cover that in a different post… So philosophy is the art of thinking well!
What of it? Who cares about philosophy? What purpose does it have in 2017?
The purpose of philosophy is actually a topic that came up often during my undergrad studies. You know what the simplified answer is? To apply it.
The purpose of philosophy is to apply it!
We already use the Socratic method in schools, we teach formal logic and various versions of social sciences that have roots in philosophy. I think people dismiss philosophy because they don’t want to be responsible for their own thoughts. They don’t want to develop their reasoning abilities because other people should “respect” their “feelings” … but life, laws, society cannot be made sense of by just gnashing our teeth over feelings…
So I propose that philosophy, or the art of thinking well, can be practiced by every person able to read or hear… it is vital to nurture the reasoning abilities of all people so society doesn’t fall apart. People are disagreeing on what is fact or fiction, what the definition of an opinion is and misusing statistics, I could go on because the list of misunderstanding is long. The solution is philosophy, to challenge every mind to be a little sharper, more open, more contemplative.
This blog is my small contribution towards the end goal of spreading philosophy. I will be posting definitions, simplifying philosophical concepts, and sharing my personal philosophy/outlook on the world in this blog. You are welcome to join me 🙂