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Why Philosophy is Still Important Today

Updated on June 20, 2014

Argument against philosophy

I was debating with a friend the other day. He's a scientist. He's going off to university to make medicines and potions or something scientific like that. He claims philosophy is dead. Science has taken over.

He acknowledges that philosophy is a science, and it is what began all the amazing scientific discoveries back in Greece. But he claims that it is no longer needed since psychology, sociology and other sciences have taken over.

I'm here to voice my opinion on why I think he's wrong.

John Stuart Mill, one of THE most influential political philosophers.
John Stuart Mill, one of THE most influential political philosophers.

Mode of thinking

Philosophy is essential for developing thinking. No, not to get through education and pass exams, but to understand how we think and why we think it.

No, psychology doesn't do that for us. This is a different area of thinking.

In philosophy we're looking at why we think what we do in politics, why human nature is the way it is, why we've taken the route we have in world politics, how we can improve how we make decisions and look after our citizens.

Philosophy is the most important part of politics. Without it, the state would just be a bunch of dudes deciding what they like and don't like and forcing it upon their citizens.

What's that you say? Politics IS like that? Now that you mention it, it kind of is. Which is exactly why we need philosophy to improve this state of affairs.

As soon as we understand human nature. As soon as we understand the workings behind everything that's going on in the world, we will be able to govern ourselves appropriately. And I think we're well on our way to achieving that.

Controversy in politics.
Controversy in politics.

And politics isn't all of it. We're looking at human nature in its entirety. This is absolutely essential in the making of deontological rules. If we don't understand who we are and what our aim is, there's no way we can do this appropriately.

Philosophy looks at the entire world, the entire human race, every situation you can think of, everything that affects your day to day life.

So I think it might be at least a little bit important. Don't you?

Morals

Philosophy is responsible for morality.

Religion is also responsible for morality. But religion is also a form of philosophy.

It is now becoming more and more common that people strive towards a religion free morality. With pluralism growing it is becoming more important to determine a common morality, which is difficult when different religions abide by different morals. Morality after all, should be universal. Unless you're a moral subjectivist. And this leads us on to another important aspect of philosophy...

Do you agree that philosophy is still important today?

Please feel free to add more in the comments below

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Debate

Without opposing beliefs and without the appropriate platform to exercise these beliefs, human society will be stifled. Individuals won't be individuals. Our race will become one huge herd of sheep.

As J.S. Mill so aptly put it:

"Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing."

This is why we need individuality. And with individuality comes debate. And with debate comes progress. And what came up with this brilliant idea? You got it, philosophy did!

So philosophy helps us firstly to understand, and secondly to develop in society.

Rick Gibson. Artist?
Rick Gibson. Artist? | Source

Art

This one's a bit of a stretch I know, but in the modern world of media and entertainment, topics that have been brought up through philosophical debate have provided perfect material for the music and arts industry. Just take a look at the guy here. -->

Rick Gibson. He's the dude responsible for foetus earrings.

Controversial.

I don't think it'll become a trend any time soon. But it's art, and it's art intended to spread a message. With a quick Google search, you'll soon find out that he's done a pretty good job of spreading his message.

It's also quite entertaining for us greedy consumers. You can't deny that!

So there you go.

Philosophy still has a huge impact on us today in a variety of ways. I'm not denying that science hasn't advanced that further. But philosophy is a science and just because it is an ancient school doesn't mean it should be respected any less. In fact, that gives it all the more credibility.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this in the comments below.

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