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Philosophy has not advanced very far since Ancient Greece and Rome and every philosophical point of view, when extended, becomes absurd.

Meanwhile, in little more than 3 centuries, and mostly in the latter half of that, Science has transformed (and multiplied) the lives of virtually everyone on the planet, although not all for the better.

I suppose you could argue that Science and technology is a branch of philosophy, but if so, it is probably the only branch worth having.

Philosophy may be a pleasurable pastime, but it doesn't really solve real world problems.

Can anyone give examples of the practical use of philosophy?

marked as duplicate by Joseph Weissman Apr 6 '18 at 17:06

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  • Science finds facts, while philosophy finds science. This is glib, I know... so let me put it this way: one practical use of philosophy is that through the philosophical disciplines, we know that science works and is reliable. We would not have science if we did not have philosophy. On the xkcd putirity scale... I would put philosophers outside the comic's box on the right, being out looking for new sciences. – MichaelK Apr 6 '18 at 11:12
  • Philosophy as any other science is about search for truth which is not always easy. Questioning ethics and reality or even truth itself it is not for everybody. You are wrong about the Ancient Greece and Rome because many of the things those philosophers postulated have been proven wrong by other philosophers and other sciences such us psychology or neuroscience. – PbxMan Apr 6 '18 at 11:15
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    "Is philosophy a waste of time?" YES, like music, art, literature, Facebook, chess playing, ... – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 6 '18 at 11:22
  • "examples of the practical use of philosophy" : helping us to understand man, world, societu, history, etc. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Apr 6 '18 at 11:23
  • Based on what I think is the underlying justification for what not wasting time means here, only technology would not be a waste of time and that is best seen as a branch of magic. – Frank Hubeny Apr 6 '18 at 11:32
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Philosophy has not advanced very far since Ancient Greece and Rome

Why on earth do you think that? What about contemporary metaphysics, logic, political philosophy?

and every philosophical point of view, when extended, becomes absurd.

Isn't that a philosophical point itself? In all seriousness though, it might not be a good idea to posit this in general without very specific reasons as to why it can be said generally. Depends on what you mean by absurd.Also, why's absurdity itself an issue?

Meanwhile, in little more than 3 centuries, and mostly in the latter half of that, Science has transformed (and multiplied) the lives of virtually everyone on the planet, although not all for the better.

It's also given us weapons to decimate thousands of people in an instant, or given us technological advances which makes us able to us millions of animals for our own gain without necessarily caring about what happens to them. Don't take this the wrong way: I only want to look at all the results.

I suppose you could argue that Science and technology is a branch of philosophy, but if so, it is probably the only branch worth having.

(1) Only science produces good results.
(2) Only what produces good results is useful.
(3) We ought to only keep whatever is useful.
(C) We only ought to keep science.

Premise 1 is flawed, more on that below. Premise 2 rests on philosophy, also more below. Premise 3 might potentially lead on into reductio ad absurdum.

Philosophy may be a pleasurable pastime, but it doesn't really solve real world problems.

This is wrong on multiple levels. First of all, to even be sure what the "real world problems" are that we ought to solve, ethics kind of does come in handy.

(If we want to argue that it isn't, well, we're also already doing philosophy.)

We could also see philosophy as keeping our "solutions" in check. Otherwise we might blindly follow ideologies when making our solutions. Especially continental philosophy often takes on such a role.

We can also see other affairs as taking such a role. Criticism of science for example can have the aim of improving it. Even people like Bruno Latour think this. But it doesn't even have to be criticism at all! Relevant quote by Dennett: "There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination."

Surely, advances on logic since aristoteles haven't been useless.

On example of how relatively modern philosophy still provides foundations for science: Gödel was a huge influence for Turing, bringing us to CompSci. We could trace Gödel back to Russell, to Frege, ...

Some political philosophy is a HUGE deal. It'd be a mistake to assume that f.e. Rawls' theory doesn't have influence over political discourse and decisions.

Furthermore, some branches of science don't exactly have "practical relevance" either. Does this mean why should try to get rid of them? If so, how do we do this without already engaging in philosophy?

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You appear to believe that science and technology are disciplines that are not a waste of time. May I offer for you, a fascinating speech by Dr. Robert Wilson. I am using a slightly abridged version which is more effective to my point (you are welcome to read the full version and the critique of the abridgement here). In this quote. Dr Wilson is testifying in front of a senate committee to justify the massive expenditure required to construct the National Accelerator Laboratory, which later becomes Fermilab.

Senator Pastore: Is there anything connected with the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of the country?

Robert Wilson: No sir, I don’t believe so.

Pastore: Nothing at all?

Wilson: Nothing at all.

Pastore: It has no value in that respect?

Wilson: It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.

These concepts Wilson talk about are very difficult to discuss from a science standpoint. They are, however, common philosophical topics. So, in this case, I would feel comfortable saying that philosophy was a key part of acquiring funding for Fermilab. And, if one believes scientific endeavors are not a waste of time, then that would serve as an example of a practical application of philosophy.

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I honestly believe that the answer to this question is inductively dependent upon whether or not you believe consciousness is a waste of time. Most of the business and happenings in the world hinge upon the philosophies of the consciousnesses interacting, and animals and humans may be said to manifest a sort of quasi-deterministic or non-deterministic "physical philosophy" which either reflects or can be idealized through (vide: Platonic Forms) the faculties of language and communication.

I personally have greatly enjoyed my life, even at its lowest and hardest points. It was fascinating, exciting, and I felt very much, as evinced by the fact that I have chosen to remain alive and communicate my thoughts, as well as my contemplation upon my thoughts, to other human beings (and to dogs, and cats, and birds, and any creature which I believe has similar faculties of mind and communication).

Some call this metacognition but I believe the capability to critically examine and reshape our thoughts is simply philosophy. All of this has informed and affects my still-evolving philosophy, which affects my work and business, and which was heavily influenced by the work of all other living philosophers.

If you believe these experiences are a waste of time, then philosophy is as well. But, it is 2018. Over time, our wars seem to be growing less intense, and as the GDP per capita rises above 7000 USD in developing nations, deforestation ceases. Forests in Russia, USA, and China are regenerating, and humankind appears to stand taller and more peaceful than ever before, despite the continued calls to war (as in the current trade dispute).

Philosophy has come quite far since Ancient Greece and Rome. In particular, Rome and Greece did not formal prison system, but these systems and their design would become the hinge of both Benthamite Utilitarianism and Foucaultian Poststructuralism, which gives us a measure of the archaeological progress of philosophy, as an artifact which persists in the minds of the living. Challenges to the death penalty in traditionally Christian nations are a similar measure, as is the environmentalism of California and E.U. Law. Even the Fall of South African Apartheid is one such measure.

My own philosophy is heavily influenced by Foucaultian Poststructuralism and Late Christian Industrialism, suffused by the mythological philosophies of Indigenous Americans and the Technogaia Movement.

A pleasure to write to you this day!

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Philosophy has not advanced very far since Ancient Greece and Rome

Some of philosophy's most transformative ideas were argued in the early modern era, like Hume's fork, Kant's conception of space and time, and Descartes' cogito.

and every philosophical point of view, when extended, becomes absurd.

Could you give an example of what you mean by this, preferably one that's unique to philosophy? As I understand the sentence, any point of view can be extended to absurdity, though that in itself doesn't invalidate it.

I suppose you could argue that Science and technology is a branch of philosophy

Sticking to your metaphor, could a branch exist without the core it's connected to? Removing the philosophical roots from science makes it almost worthless. You can't ask the right questions without philosophy. You have no methodologies for arriving at valid knowledge without philosophy. Science needs these to function.

it is probably the only branch worth having.

Why is science the only branch worth having? Is it because scientific advances are immediately obvious to your senses? Why is philosophy worthless? Is it because it doesn't produce objects for you to interact with?

Philosophy may be a pleasurable pastime, but it doesn't really solve real world problems. Can anyone give examples of the practical use of philosophy?

See the branch of philosophy known as applied ethics. Some of the first practical questions asked in the linked article include: Under what conditions is an abortion morally permissible? Does a citizen have a moral obligation to actively participate in the democratic process of one’s nation? What obligations, if any, does one have to the global poor? Under what conditions is female genital excision morally permissible?

These issues cannot be addressed properly without using philosophy. When they are, it often degrades into heated emotional back-and-forths, which accomplishes nothing. A lot of the "arguments" you see about modern issues are little more than unsubstantiated shouting matches. Philosophy grounds these arguments so we can discuss them, source the root problems, and begin working towards a resolution.

If you want to learn more about the basic, practical, everyday uses for philosophy, I suggest checking out this Five Books interview along with any of the books recommended: Philosophy for Everyday Living. Also look into Philosophy: The Basics by Nigel Warburton, it gives a wonderfully accessible introduction to the topic.

The more you know about philosophy the more I think you'll see it has enormous practical value. It's not just bearded Greek guys in bed sheets, as the stereotype suggests.

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We have this disease that says that once something intellectual actually works, it must be science and until then it is one of the humanities.

But from the point of view of any existing social science, that is obvious nonsense. We can say history is in the humanities, and political science is in the social sciences, but they are the same thing -- they just have a range of competing methods, some of which work slightly better than others, but address less interesting questions.

There is even clear acknowledgement from historians of science. From the POV of Kuhn every science proceeds out of a state of 'protoscience', which is entirely philosophical.

The sciences, contrary to a lot of chest-pounding to the contrary about methods, which not all of them use (qv Feyerabend), and the standards for what are facts, which all of them violate (qv Lakatos), have nothing else in common than being varieties of philosophy that come to produce results we can agree upon. From that point forward, they have a paradigm, and voi-la, a Science is born.

So yeah, all the useful parts work. If you never want any new useful parts, you can throw out all the rest.

There are obviously parts of philosophy that will never be sciences, either, because the subject matter is itself simply too broad, too subjective, or too unstable. But even if there weren't, no human being can tell what parts of the rest are going to be sciences, or whether they actually already are sciences and we have just not noticed. To draw this distinction as completely as people who write questions like this insist is just pointless.

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Almost all of us solve many problems we face in our life according to some philosophies. If your question is not in a broad sense, in most people's case it is a waste of time; but not in the case of born philosophers.

Some people have only good capacity for work rather than thinking capacity. This also has a great importance in each individual's development as well as the development of humanity. Heating up brain unnecessarily is not a good tendency. (Sri Ramakrishna discouraged excessive use of philosophy.)

If one can use philosophy wisely for eliminating his ego, it can be used as a ladder for reaching or attaining Self realization.

See teachings of Ramana Maharshi:

https://www.speakingtree.in/article/ramana-maharshi-s-thoughts-on-ego

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Philosophy can be useful to a point and that point is when you know the point. When you find the constant in philosophy it philosophy loses its point and becomes something to shed like a butterfly sheds it's previous state Hope you get the point then . The point being the constant in all reference frames that you can find your self inside of a reference frame. Life is a constant quote from Alan Watts.

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    I don't think this answers the question. What "point"? What "constant"? I did not down vote the answer. – Frank Hubeny Apr 6 '18 at 11:22
  • The point has to be the constant and the constant is life. The point in any reference frame is life. Life is the constant that philosophy searches for. – user32232 Apr 6 '18 at 11:52

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