What Is Philosophy For?

This brief video does a good job of answering its title question. It was produced by London based The School of Life which “is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture. We address such issues as how to find fulfilling work, how to master the art of relationships, how to understand one’s past, how to achieve calm and how better to understand, and where necessary change, the world.”

The School of Life tries to bring philosophy backs to its roots—as a search for wisdom. Thus the school isn’t interested in esoteric philosophical problems, but in how philosophical insight can help us to live well. The video is divided into five parts.

1) Philosophers should ask questions about life’s meaning, and how to find inner peace.
2) Philosophers should question so-called common sense.
3) Philosophers should seek self-knowledge.
4) Philosophers should teach us how to live well.
5) Philosophers should do all of the above publicly.

Having spent more than 40 years in the academy, I can attest to the disappointment at how detached much of academic philosophy is from the concerns of life. I applaud the School of Life for its effort and I will try to continue this blog’s focus on big questions like: What does is all mean? Who am I? How do I know myself? How do I transform myself? Well, here we go.

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2 thoughts on “What Is Philosophy For?

  1. I would not ordinarily review or comment on material I am unfamiliar with. Found this by accident. Upon reading the five points above, another point came to mind. Placement of that one in the sequence would depend on my IPM * contingency:

    Philosophy should give readers sufficient notice of what it is they are getting themselves into.

    [* interests, preferences and motives]

  2. That’s a fair point. There’s certainly a lot of potential personal turmoil that philosophy can elicit, as well disturbing societal peace in a myriad of ways.

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