Philosophy cannot be useless

By Aristophanes

It’s impossible for philosophy to be useless.

Philosophy is the study of theoretical foundations. To philosophize is to examine the fundamental nature of a subject, whether tangible or abstract.

Philosophy comes in many forms, but all have this same basic construct.

There’s philosophy of knowledge (epistemology). Philosophy of law (jurisprudence). Philosophy of moral systems (ethics). Philosophy of things (metaphysics). Philosophy of being (ontology). Philosophy of rational thought (logic). And philosophy of beauty (aesthetics).

Of course there’s more — many more, in fact. But an exhaustive list is beyond the scope of this article.

What do all of these philosophical variations have in common? They represent the study of underpinnings, whatever the topic might be.

To justify the claim that philosophy is useless, one must compose an argument. But to do so would be to examine the philosophical foundations of the assertion philosophy is useless, itself — thus employing philosophy to refute the utility of philosophy.

Now that’s not to say philosophy must have multiple uses. Perhaps it doesn’t (although I definitely think it does). But it necessarily has at least one use, even if that use is arguing the nature of its own uselessness.

Therefore, philosophy cannot be useless. ■

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One thought on “Philosophy cannot be useless

  1. I completely agree with this. Whenever criticizes my deep love for philosophy, I always ask them why they don’t like philosophy. They respond with saying: “It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that I don’t understand how you can become successful with studying it.” I always ask them to define what success means to them, and they say something along the lines of money and other material wealth. I challenge where they got such notions of success. Is it from our materialistic society or is it a human survival instinct or some other factor? What was a negative comment turns into a philosophical discussion. So yes, philosophy is important in every aspects of one’s life. Understanding one’s beliefs and where they came from is totally not useless.


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