Is Philosophy for phoneys? 2012


The subject of Philosophy has often been regarded as a pointless exercise in which dons and their students on that “other planet" of Academia can play word games with each other and ensure that the topic is too difficult and inaccessible for hoi polloi to understand.

There may be an element of truth in this but there are plenty of good introductory books on the subject these days which makes it relatively much easier to understand: Moreover, these books help the layperson to appreciate the potential real value of Philosophy.

I believe that Sociology (another much ridiculed subject) should be seen as a close a sibling of Philosophy, and interrelated: Surely Philosophy really is pointless if it is not used as a sociological tool with which to attempt to enlighten and hopefully improve the cultural values of a society.

Philosophy doesn’t have to be the preserve of those in “ivory towers”: We all philosophise - we all make judgements every day as to the best course of action to take or the best solution to a problem in the long run. Every time we wonder about nature or seek to increase our knowledge about life, we are philosophising.

So, there is surely nothing wrong with philosophy per se but so much depends on how it is used or interpreted.

Philosophy does not always provide the answers, but at least it can help to us to ask the right questions and to provide a framework and a point from which to start.

*An excellent and highly accessible introduction to Philosophy can be found in “Philosophy - The Basics” a book by Nigel Warburton.