What Is the Value of Philosophy?

Philosophy is not an occupation of a popular nature, nor is it pursued for the sake of self-advertisement. Its concern is not with words, but with facts. It is not carried on with the object of passing the day in an entertaining sort of way and taking the boredom out of leisure. It moulds and builds the personality, orders one’s life, regulates one’s conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm, and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas. Without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry. Every hour of the day countless situations arise that call for advice, and for that advice we have to look to philosophy.

- Seneca, Letters from a Stoic, 16

Podcast of the Day

What can you do with Philosophy? John Armstrong thinks you can do quite a lot with it. In this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast, recorded in London at the Royal Society of Arts, he explains what he means by this.

Listen to John Armstrong on What Can You Do With Philosophy?

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

“What do you do for a crust?” is usually one of the more predictable questions you’ll be asked at a social gathering. It’s classic small talk – we define ourselves, and others, by what we sell our labour for. It’s an innocuous question that is usually answered in a few words, by naming the company one works for, or the profession. When you’re a philosopher, it’s usually a slightly harder question.

For one thing, describing yourself as a philosopher still retains an air of pretension. It’s fine to say you study philosophy, or teach it, but to say that you are a philosopher is, in the eyes of many, to claim access to some esoteric truth, or to be enlightened above one’s fellows...

Continue reading Matthew Beard's article: The examined life: why philosophy needs to engage with the world, but hasn’t 

Further Reading

Socrates believed that the unexamined life – the unphilosophical life – was not worth living (Plato, Apology, 38a). Indeed, Socrates saw his role as helping to rouse people from unreflective lives. He did this by showing them, through his famous ‘Socratic method’, that in fact they knew little about, for example, justice, beauty, love or piety. Socrates’ use of that method contributed to his being condemned to death by the Athenian state. But Socrates’ politics contributed too; and here one can note that, according to the Republic (473c-d), humanity will prosper only when philosophers are kings or kings’ philosophers. It is notable too that, in Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates presents death as liberation of the soul from the tomb of the body...

Continue reading the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Contemporary Metaphilosophy by Nicholas Joll

Bonus Webcomic

Philosophy Infomercial - Existential Comics

Related Topics

If you’re interested in this topic, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 The Examined Life | Philosophy | The Value of Knowledge | Wisdom

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