Thursday, August 31, 2017

Where can Philosophy take me?

He may know how to reason. He may know how to use reason in his job.
But does he understand what it means to live the good life?

Meditations of a 21st century incarnation of Socrates as composed by Brent Silby

Oh dear. I have been reading this article about the value of philosophy:

They seem to think that philosophy is valuable just because it prepares people for jobs. This idea sees philosophy as having instrumental value because it leads to something else. But those things only have instrumental value too, insofar as we want them because they lead to other things that we value.

One outcome philosophy leads to, which is not on the list, but is arguably of most value, is knowledge of oneself and what it means to live the good life. Why is so little attention given to this? If we want to promote the value of philosophy, we should include the things that make it most valuable. Certainly people need jobs, and philosophy might help people get jobs, but unless we can recognize what it means to live the good life, we may never actually live the good life. People want to live the good life, so they need to recognize what that means and how to achieve it. Therefore, it seems to me that this should be on the top of the list of where philosophy can take us. Philosophy has instrumental value insofar as it can lead one to live the good life, which is of intrinsic value.

-- Socrates