Dear sirs and madams,
I recently met my cousin, who is a very bright biologist. When she learned that I studied political science and philosophy at university, she asked respectfully me why I would study a self-perpetuating field. I know what my reasons are, but I would be interested in reading what some of the professionals have to say: Why study philosophy? Moreover, why study it since there is an impracticality associated with it? Have you ever gotten any flack from loved ones for philosophizing?
Thank you for your time,
There were times in which philosophy was considered as the highest form of education, a sort of "meta-knowledge" you acquire that enables you to reason about any other corpus of knowledge. In France it is still considered as such, although what French call "philosophy" is a wierd mixture of erudition, rhetoric capacities and "esprit" in conversation. I think that this still holds, and that studying philosophy enables you to acquire a skillful mind: not only a faster one (as in the case of studying very formal disciplines, like mathematics), but also a more reflective one. And I do not see the "impracticality" associated with it, apart from the fact that it makes it harder to get a job (I remember a cartoon in my department in which you could see the scene of an interview of a candidate for a job and the cadidate saying: "It is true that I have a doctorate in philosophy, but I'm willing to learn"). There's something "practical" in being mindful, and the landscape of knowledge changes so fast that it...