The Importance of Philosophy

Philosophy is the most useful and valuable activity anyone can engage in. Now this may seem to be a bit proposterous given the current propaganda spread concerning philosophy but it is true.

What is philosophy? Philosophy is the art of asking questions, coming up with various answers and evaluating those answers and questions using multiple frameworks. As such every single academic discipline, every single intellectual pursuit is really a sub-discipline of philosophy. The way in which these sub-disciplines are defined is through the assumptions they bring to the questions they ask and attempt to answer.

For example take science. One of the assumptions science has that demarcates it from the rest of philosophy is empiricism. That is it gives a special epistemic value to knowledge gained via experience. It says that a statement is verified via experience. There is a second assumption which makes this first assumption more specific. That is that experience verifies a set of statements (aka a theory) by confirming predictions (aka statements derived from the theory that concern directly experiencable phenomena) of that theory.

The assumptions one makes when evaluating questions and answers are themselves unverifiable. Or rather – because verfiability assumes we are talking about truth – the value we use to evaluate an answer is itself unable to be evaluated. This is a natural result of the fact that this value is the reason why we are doing something and as such can itself have no reason. If it appears that a value does have a reason then it is really an intermediary value that is subsumed under a more fundamental value for some purpose.

So why do I think that philosophy is the single most important, valuable and beneficial activity one can partake in? Because I feel it is better to know than not know. Aside from the fact that knowing enables one to change something all things being equal I would rather know a thing than not know a thing. It is better to know and understand how we are and could be conditioned than to not know. Of course I’m not speaking objectively – I just personally find it better to know.

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