Tuesday, September 6, 2016
My Brief Defense of the Study of Philosophy
As I read Goldstein’s list of jabs from philosophy jeerers, I could not help but be struck by the irony. After all, isn’t the belief that philosophy is unnecessary a philosophy itself? What if I told you it was my opinion that all opinions are stupid, you would call me crazy would you not? These so called jeerers are actually saying what most people throughout history, both philosophers and non-philosophers alike, have said: all philosophies are wrong except for mine.
In answer to the specific accusation that philosophy has made no progress since the time of Plato, considering Plato’s continuing prominence in the field to this very day, I would suggest the argument can easily be flipped around. Fields such as mathematics and the sciences have only in relatively recent history produced figureheads whose names will always be relevant to their respective studies. John Nash, Albert Einstein, and even Gregor Mendel are a few examples of the greats who have come long after Plato’s day. These brief observations would lead me to ever so humbly suggest to mathematicians and scientists who disregard the relevance of the study of philosophy that perhaps this is evidence that their areas of study are only now beginning to catch up with the accomplishments achieved by one of the first philosophers. And he didn’t even have coffee or a chalk board!