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Discuss the usefulness of studying philiosophy.

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Introduction

'Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves.' (Bertrand Russell, Problem of Philosophy, pp. 93-94). Discuss the usefulness (or the lack of it) of studying philosophy with reference to the statement above. Draw appropriate examples from your engagement with the subject so far as well as from your own personal experience. I agree with the above statement to a moderate extent, as I believe that while there are some definite answers to some of the questions Philosophy poses, it is true that Philosophy is to be studied for the sake of the questions themselves. I also feel that studying Philosophy can be useful to a large extent in many areas of life, as it is not limited by factors pertaining to a single subject, apart from the question of knowledge. The mention of the word 'Philosophy' is more than likely to evoke images of old men with long beards and white hair, as well as abstract and incomprehensible truths and axioms. In fact, the phrase "a philosophical attitude" is often used to refer to a stoical and passive approach to life and taking things without caring too much about their consequence and implications. ...read more.

Middle

Philosophy teaches us how we should live life, while at the same time refusing to dictate what we should and should not do with our lives. Philosophy is a means to understand in greater depth other disciplines, and it is all about learning skills which we can use for other purposes. Philosophy unites and divides. But most of all, Philosophy teaches. Philosophy teaches us more about ourselves and what we truly understand. It shows us where we are wrong, and what we can do to improve ourselves, and this is where Philosophy does play a part in our day-to-day lives. Philosophy is also useful helping to understand the grey areas regarding many important questions about a discipline, such as the nature of its concepts and its relation to other disciplines4. Such questions are usually not pursued in the study of that discipline itself, and it is up to Philosophy to find the answers, if any, for these highly important, but neglected questions. An example of this would be to use the skills Philosophy teaches to try and understand how science relates to math and geography, or how history relates to literature. A critical look at the relationship between these subjects reveals that there are often close links between them. ...read more.

Conclusion

That said, I do believe that there is far more benefit to be gained from the study of the questions themselves, and that the search for answers should remain secondary in nature. Thus my conviction is that Philosophy should be studied for the sake of the questions themselves, with definite answers only being far less important. In conclusion, I feel that the primary usefulness of Philosophy is its immense relevance to our lives in the context of understanding our surroundings better, in the quest to gain a greater and more in-depth view of other disciplines. Philosophy involves the learning of skills which can be applied elsewhere, and teaches us how to think, reason and live our lives. The bottom line here is that Philosophy is useful because of its practical aspects. There may certainly be other possible ways Philosophy can be studied, such as solely for the sake of questioning, as Russell suggests. However, these methods pale in comparison to the practicality and versatility of studying Philosophy in order to learn new thinking skills. Wordcount: 1,493 words 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy 2 Bertrand Russell, "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism," in his Logical Atomism, 141. 3 Adapted from http://www.philosophy.uncc.edu/mleldrid/intro/odop.html 4 Adapted from http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/EPS/PES-Yearbook/95_docs/hager.html 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mathematics ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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