I'm in a sticky situation right now. Within a month I have to choose if I want to study law, philosophy or take a year off so I can find out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to study law so I can hopefully make a lot of money and provide well for my hypothetically family. However, I don't know if that's worth it. Because I have to study a lot for 5 years then work hard until the day I'm too old to work, then I have to wait for the day I die. This seems meaningless to me right now, because I don't care about money at all. But I know I will need it to take care of a family. Anyway, I want to study philosophy so I can somehow change the problems humanity is facing. Somehow this makes more sense for me because I often ponder about everything wrong with this world, and why we don't do anything about it. Here is also why I don't care about money, because that's another factor that bring humanity down. And I don't think I can spend 8 hours everyday of my young and adult life, to work for money....

Many years ago I was in something like your position, (though my family was already real rather than merely possible), and I put roughly the same question to a very experienced and wise philosopher, who was also a friend. She was pretty elderly at the point, but her mind was still as sparkling as it was when she studied with Whitehead. She said to me, 'Well, Jonathan, reflect on the fact that it is better to be a third-rate philosopher than a first-rate anything else.' 'Of course! ' I said to myself. 'Why didn't I see that?' I became a third-rate philosopher, and I have been happy ever since.

With regards to the recent events in US and European politics — Trump's triumph, Brexit, etc. — Is populism an *inevitable* consequence of democracy, or is it avoidable by means such as educating the people?

Populism, however understood, may not have been the only thing behind "Trump's triumph". And Brexit was not just an exercise in populism. There were genuine issues of national sovereignty with Brexit, in a narrow legal sense, unlike with Trump, about which there were genuine differences of political opinion. The parliamentary monopoly on law-making in the UK is guaranteed by the Coronation Oath, but denied by EEC and then EU legislation from 1972 on. In addition, there were plans ("Dokument UE-2", co-authored by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France), in the event of a "Remain" vote, for a common European Army and police force, though the plans were concealed before the referendum. It is hard to imagine too many of the United States wanting a common army with Mexico and Canada, say, or a common legal system. The EU executive, though appointed by elected legislators, is not itself elected. Yet it has the power to issue "directives" having the force of law in the member states with no oversight or...

What are your main objections about the way philosophy is taught to undergraduates today and is it any different than the way it was taught during your time as an undergrad? Just how much say do professors in philosophy have over what they want to cover? I only took two philosophy courses in school, but I found that the topic material was overly broad and covered too many philosophers; even the professors seemed overwhelmed with the readings. I think it would be more worthwhile if perhaps the students decided at the beginning of courses specifically on no more than three philosophers/topics to cover intensely since specialization results in a greater degree of understanding instead of general unconcentrated knowledge.

There are I think no objections to the way philosophy is taught to undergraduates today in US and UK universities. Courses are on the whole very well taught, there is a an emphasis on clarity and often on originality, and students learn a great deal of respect for decent argument, as well as sound scholarship. Courses on the history of philosophy have never been better, and this is true of courses in other areas as well. I believe you when you say that your school philosophy courses was too broad and "even the professors seemed overwhelmed with the readings." I have noticed this kind of thing before. You are absolutely right that "specialization results in a greater degree of understanding", though there is a place for the well-taught survey course. If I were going to offer a course on three philosophers, I would want the three to have a strong link, so for example a course on "Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz", "Stewart, Reid and Hamilton", or "Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein".

I am a humanities teacher teaching Philosophy around the question of what does it mean to be human? I am hoping to find some age appropriate readings/ videos that discuss the basics of the philosophical movement. Can anyone help me? Thanks

How about Leslie Stevenson's Ten Theories of Human Nature ? I have had good luck teaching freshmen with this, doing a course called "Human Nature". It's on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Theories-Human-Nature-ebook/dp/B003F3PN1K Good luck with the class!

I am a philosophy student that doubts philosophers; I can't write papers, or at least trying to make the connections emerge from details is damn near the hardest thing I've ever done. I have the right ideas (that I am sure of) and I can talk philosophy (intersbujective exp. confirms this) but my papers fall into detail etc. (No one has ever said, WOAH this paper should be published). But even when, one night, I curse the very subject matter and damn it all to hell, I wake up the next morning prepared to try again. But still, at night I try to cast the dead weight from my shoulders in despair. Question: if one's temperament is philosophic should they steer away from academic philosophy? Question 2: Should the person who falls in love with wisdom only to damn her at night continue to make the effort, indeed, should one rule out a life-long marriage with the enticing specimen?

Answer to Q1: Why should a person who loves philosophy not steer towards academic philosophy? The better one knows her the more she has to offer, such as fascinating arguments. Answer to Question 2: If you are in love with someone, you really should marry that person, other things equal, no? Philosophy can be difficult sometimes, even temperamental, but she is not mad .