What's the relationship between everyday life and philosophy?

What's the relationship between everyday life and philosophy?
valeone1
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 28, 2010

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 2
#1 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 28, 2010 - 8:21 PM:
Subject: What's the relationship between everyday life and philosophy?
In any today's western university, philosophy is a discipline that doesn't attract many followers in comparison to alternatives. The reason, i believe, is because the students doesn't believe that there's any relationship between their lifes and philosophy. They believe that philosophy is essentially "out of touch" with human concrete lifes and that means that even though some abstract problems are understood better that is not going to contribute to how any person live. I believe that western philosophy can have a better relationship with people lifes but the reason it's not having a good one right now is because the selection of problems that are discussed today are out of context.
Postmodern Beatnik
((¬A → B) & (¬A → ¬B) → A
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Nov 18, 2005

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 1105
#2 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 28, 2010 - 11:00 PM:

valeone1 wrote:
In any today's western university, philosophy is a discipline that doesn't attract many followers in comparison to alternatives.
Quite the opposite, in fact. People are dropping science and business majors and signing up for philosophy in droves. They're getting hired faster than everyone else, too, in case anyone was wondering.

valeone1 wrote:
The reason, i believe, is because the students doesn't believe that there's any relationship between their lifes and philosophy. They believe that philosophy is essentially "out of touch" with human concrete lifes and that means that even though some abstract problems are understood better that is not going to contribute to how any person live.
The only people who believe that tend to get frustrated with their first philosophy class and never move on. Philosophy relates to life in many ways. The stock example is ethics: everyone decides what to do one way or another, and ethics is philosophy about proper behavior. The most obvious benefit, however, is that philosophy teaches you how to think. Yes, humanity goes through periods of time when it doesn't seem to be a big fan of the whole thinking thing, but they're never particularly prosperous times. It seems to me, then, that philosophy is pretty valuable after all.

valeone1 wrote:
I believe that western philosophy can have a better relationship with people lifes but the reason it's not having a good one right now is because the selection of problems that are discussed today are out of context.
The academic philosophical literature spans every question there is, but I'm guessing you're talking about topics discussed in classrooms. That often depends on the teacher and the program. If graduate programs would emphasize teaching skills a bit more, and if colleges would make it clear that professors are paid to teach more than anything else, we might be able to address the fact that there is wild variation in pedagogical competency among those who introduce young people to philosophy.

Honestly, we should just fire all the bad teachers. If they're really such brilliant philosophers, they'll find a way to get their research done and their ideas out there. Plenty of others have.
MarchHare
PF Addict
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Jun 23, 2009
Location: UK

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 3064
#3 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 28, 2010 - 11:21 PM:

Postmodern Beatnik wrote:
Quite the opposite, in fact. People are dropping science and business majors and signing up for philosophy in droves. They're getting hired faster than everyone else, too, in case anyone was wondering.


Correct. A certain institution that I plan on applying for someday recentely did a study that found that philosophy students with post-grad degrees are particularly adept at this particular job.

In general, there is no broader education in rational, systematic, persuasive and logical thinking than you will find in a good analytic philosophy course. After a few years of undergraduate philosophy, I'm finding that learning economics, mathematics, linguistics and politics is simple. Academic philosophy is a good way to learn to learn, which is a vital skill in the modern dynamic jobs market where specialisation is increasingly a thing of the past.

Postmodern Beatnik wrote:
The stock example is ethics: everyone decides what to do one way or another, and ethics is philosophy about proper behavior.


True, although on an everyday level I find that formal/informal logic and rhetoric are more important than ethics. The style of ethical thinking that I have learnt in philosophy isn't particularly conducive to real-world ethical problems, although there have been some exceptional tutors. As a general rule, I've found those ethics courses which less probabilistic mathematical decision-making procedures and more attention to emotions/literature/character development to be more useful.

Also, studying the philosophy of language is a great way to avoid useless arguments. I love to argue, but not when it's simply as a result of not understanding what the other person is saying.
valeone1
Newbie

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 28, 2010

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 2
#4 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Mar 31, 2010 - 11:12 PM:
Subject: Is philosophy out of touch or not?
Thank you so much for your responses. I really like the way ideas get criticized here.

Everybody has his/her own perception on whether students are more interested or less interested in the US contemporary philosophy. Postmodern Beatnik believes that students are enrolling more in the philosophy field. MarchHare supports this idea by referring to a study that an educational institution made to prove that philosophy has been a hot field nowadays and therefore it is a good choice. The fact of the matter is that degrees conferred in philosophy has been percentually and nationally decreasing in comparison to others alternatives as business and science according to the digest of education statistics 2008 figures(nces.ed.gov/programs/digest...st/d08/tables/dt08_271.asp). US department of education through the National Center for Education Statistics publishes this figures and I hope they will be recognized. It's true that enrollment it's not the same thing as degrees conferred but finishing a degree requires real interest in comparison to simple enrollment. So US students are not been attracted to philosophy as a field. This is national trend but that doesn't mean that certain states or counties share this. There may be many exceptions.

The big question is Why this is a general feature of the US education system?

I don't think there is only one reason or even one main reason. Changes in the skills and knowledge required to enter to the us workforce is definitely one. Changes in the cost of education is another one. But what I also believe it is contributing to this trend is the lack of adaptation that US philosophy has to his own time. US philosophy has changed but has not been adequate to his own time. It is out of touch.

Is this a problem of pedagogical methodology or a problem of philosophy itself?

If it is a problem of methodology then Postmodern Beatnik is right. Teachers are to blame for not teaching it correctly and students are to blame for not been illuminated with knowledge when a teacher teach it correctly. I think that this is not a problem of methodology but a problem of philosophy itself. And what I mean by that is that even the most persuasive and knowledgeable teacher is not able to understand human concrete life. He will not be able to understand the diverse philosophical problems of today. The problem of free will, mind/body problem, extreme skepticism, etc are not perennial problems and should not be discussed that much as they are today. New philosophical problems should enter introductory and advanced courses. Western philosophers are concerned about philosophical problems of the past. Certainly I am not the first one that makes this kind of criticism. Heidegger make that case very clear. Rorty was doing that too.

The major philosophical problem that has the present philosophy of the past is how to elucidate the diverse present philosophical problems that have been ignored. This goal of understanding human experience in its actual context requires creativity that I certainly do not have. I will more than grateful if anyone could react to this even if fundamental disagreement is present.
Postmodern Beatnik
((¬A → B) & (¬A → ¬B) → A
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Nov 18, 2005

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 1105
#5 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Apr 1, 2010 - 8:44 PM:

valeone1 wrote:
The fact of the matter is that degrees conferred in philosophy has been percentually and nationally decreasing in comparison to others alternatives as business and science according to the digest of education statistics 2008 figures(nces.ed.gov/programs/digest...st/d08/tables/dt08_271.asp).
I worry that this statement is misleading for two reasons. First, your statistics show that the number of degrees being conferred in philosophy has been steadily growing. I take it your point is that the rate of increase does not match that of other programs, but the statistics do not tell us about how things are "on the ground," so to speak. They do not address primary versus secondary majors, for example, particularly the question of what any particular student consider to be his or her "real" major (in the case of those who will leave school with two degrees). I know plenty of people who switched their major to a more traditional liberal art and only kept their business or pre-law major to keep their parents happy (and often to keep them paying for things like school, books, and food).

Second, the statistics only go back to academic year 2006-2007, which is prior to when the trend I am talking about began. And given the delay between enrollment and graduation, we will have to wait a few years to see the result reflected in statistical analyses like the one you have cited.

valeone1 wrote:
And what I mean by that is that even the most persuasive and knowledgeable teacher is not able to understand human concrete life. He will not be able to understand the diverse philosophical problems of today.
What makes you think that I am incapable of understanding such problems? I have a life outside academia, I interact with non-philosophers, and I inherited my philosophical curiosity from my father -- a most decidedly blue collar non-academic who nonetheless wonders about things in a philosophical manner.

valeone1 wrote:
The problem of free will, mind/body problem, extreme skepticism, etc are not perennial problems and should not be discussed that much as they are today.
Again, I am quite confused. Free will comes up more often outside academia than it does inside academia. The reason we teach it so often in introductory classes is that it is something students report having thought about prior to signing up for class. Same with the mind/body problem. These are two questions that have serious religious implications, after all, and issues between theists and atheists are very popular in the public sphere right now. As for "extreme skepticism," I'm not sure that is ever discussed as much as non-philosophers seem to think it is. External world skepticism is often discussed as a means of introducing views like direct and indirect realism, reliabilism, and infallibilism, but rarely focused on for its own sake.

valeone1 wrote:
New philosophical problems should enter introductory and advanced courses. Western philosophers are concerned about philosophical problems of the past. Certainly I am not the first one that makes this kind of criticism. Heidegger make that case very clear. Rorty was doing that too.
And almost every major philosophy department has responded to that criticism. So I'm afraid I still don't see the problem, other than the fact that certain teachers have failed in their pedagogical responsibility to keep up.

When I teach introductory philosophy, the point is to give a broad overview of central aspects of the discipline -- typically theories of knowledge and reality (a.k.a. epistemology and metaphysics) and ethics (always popular and raucous) -- while connecting it to everyday life through elements of popular culture (popular books, television shows, and/or movies that draw on these issues to develop their themes or stories). This is not a "philosophy and pop culture" class, however. It remains rigorously academic. And yet, it still draws people in. All you have to do is show students that they already care about these issues -- they just didn't always make the connection between popular and academic presentations thereof. You don't even have to make this point explicitly. The kids are more than smart enough to pick it up on their own.
sheps
PF Addict

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Dec 15, 2008

Total Topics: 110
Total Posts: 7300
#6 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Apr 2, 2010 - 7:24 PM:

Postmodern Beatnik wrote:
I worry that this statement is misleading for two reasons. First, your statistics show that the number of degrees being conferred in philosophy has been steadily growing. I take it your point is that the rate of increase does not match that of other programs, but the statistics do not tell us about how things are "on the ground," so to speak. They do not address primary versus secondary majors, for example, particularly the question of what any particular student consider to be his or her "real" major (in the case of those who will leave school with two degrees). I know plenty of people who switched their major to a more traditional liberal art and only kept their business or pre-law major to keep their parents happy (and often to keep them paying for things like school, books, and food).


I can see his point though, PB. Politicians always talk about the need for science and engineering degrees these days, whilst the critical art of thinking that philosophy, literature, history etc. encourage often seems hardly valued.
Postmodern Beatnik
((¬A → B) & (¬A → ¬B) → A
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Nov 18, 2005

Total Topics: 26
Total Posts: 1105
#7 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Apr 2, 2010 - 10:57 PM:

sheps wrote:
I can see his point though, PB. Politicians always talk about the need for science and engineering degrees these days, whilst the critical art of thinking that philosophy, literature, history etc. encourage often seems hardly valued.
I am hardly surprised that politicians are downplaying the value of critical thinking. To do anything else would be to put themselves out of a job.

All joking aside, though, valeone1's initial point was internal to the university environment, and that is what I disagreed with. If we wanted to take a look at what society at large thinks about the value of philosophy, I would agree that philosophers do not have the social currency we used to have in, say, the 18th century. I mean, a colleague of mine was chatting up a young lady at a bar just last weekend and she turned around and walked straight away upon him mentioning that he is primarily interested in issues concerning the existence and permanence of middle-sized inanimate objects. The nerve!

Oops! Forgot that I was being serious. Anyway, it is true that philosophers, like most other academics, get characterized as being basically useless to society. Then again, this happens to scientists, as well, right up until they invent the newest pill or piece of technology. The average man on the street cares just as much about the Higgs boson as he does supervenience relations or problems of empty names.
ciceronianus
Gadfly
Avatar

Usergroup: Sponsors
Joined: Sep 20, 2008
Location: An old chaos of the Sun

Total Topics: 95
Total Posts: 5232

Last Blog: Goldengrove Unleaving

#8 - Quote - Permalink
Posted Apr 4, 2010 - 8:18 AM:

Postmodern Beatnik wrote:
The most obvious benefit, however, is that philosophy teaches you how to think.



This was (and still is, I hope) its primary benefit for me. And, it has been a benefit of great significance in the "learned profession" I practice, which involves the close analysis and use of words and arguments.

I sympathize with the view that many traditional philosophical issues have little to do with our lives. For good or ill, those who taught me philosophy were for the most part concerned with showing that such issues were not issues at all, and had great fun pointing out why they and the philosophers who studied them were silly, and I suppose that my attitude was influenced accordingly. I would prefer that philosophers and philosophy ignore such questions as whether other minds exist (except perhaps as a training exercise) and address "real life issues." I'm finding out that more philosophers are doing that then I thought. But even when philosophy doesn't address significant issues, it can teach you how to think, and we do far too little of that these days.
locked
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



This thread is closed, so you cannot post a reply.