Why might many or most people outside of academic philosophy be so disinclined to listen to, or take interest in, philosophical thinking or conversation (even when it is communicated enthusiastically or passionately)? It seems to me, from personal experience, that philosophical thinking or communication is overlooked and ignored in everyday conversations outside of academia, and more specifically, outside the philosophy departments. A recent situation I found myself in sparked this curiosity, the people I was in conversation with seemed to be making somewhat of a concerted effort to avoid philosophical thinking entirely and instead would share the specifics of personal events and intermittently provide (what was to me) banal opinions.

I am surprised! I have never had a hard time engaging with people--all people, not just academics--in philosophical discussion. Of course, sometimes what I'm interested in at the moment is off topic so people don't want to be interrupted, and of course some people (though I in my experience this is rare) have no interest in philosophical questions. But for the most part, I've found people to be willing to engage. I don't know how your conversations have gone, but starting a philosophical conversation typically starts like this, for me: a question or issue is raised, and the other person has an opinion on it. I ask why they have that opinion, and then we pick that apart, or I introduce an alternative. So the question or issue usually comes up on its own, as part of an every day conversation, and then I ask a question about it that relates it to a broader philosophical issue or argument. In this way, perhaps unwittingly, people are usually tricked into talking about philosophy with me.

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