Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why do we need philosophy nowadays?

Portrait of the philosopher
as a young man
Why the hell do we need philosophy today?  Isn't it archaic, irrelevant, and very dull?

I've defended philosophy in today's Sydney Morning Herald, in 'Not idle, just thinking big'.

And do check out John Shakespeare's caricature of yours truly, in jeans and t-shirt, complete with shaven skull...

My essay looks at philosophy's value in modern life, and suggests how philosophers and everyone else might be more intellectually intimate.  A sample:
Healthy or ailing, philosophy will continue for another two millennia – if homo sapiens survives. This is partly because of professional associations, formal education. But it is also because the desire to ask and answer life’s basic questions can be waylaid or suppressed, but not denied. The challenge for philosophers is to gratify this instinct – not with shallow truisms or anaesthetised prose, but by sharing what they desire: bold ideas, rich impressions, subtle emotions. The challenge for lay folk is to overcome distraction, intimidation or intellectual sloth, in favour of this, philosophy’s unusual beauty.
(Illustration: John Shakespeare/SMH)

2 comments:

Mike said...

I still remember Dr Young's pre-Doctorate paradoxical aphorism, 'Those who can, do, and those who can't, teach: and those who can do neither, use aphorisms'. D.A.Y.

Damon Young said...

Was that it? I thought it had more to it.

Never mind. I remember the conversation...