The Value of Philosophical Thinking

Essay by grif22kCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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The study of Philosophy is often under serious suspicions from society of being somewhat useless. It provides no immediate answers or results, leaves one with uncertainty and unanswerable questions, and also a complicated view of the life in this world. This is to say the value of philosophizing is not obvious and not easily attained. As it has been pointed out, the pursuit of philosophical knowledge does not often bring wealth or concrete results of any kind. In fact the pursuit brings more questions and leads to further curiosity, awe, and bewilderment. Philosophy does not give you ultimate answers or wisdom but it is the search for these things that brings enlightenment and understanding. Just dealing with these difficult pieces of the bigger picture puts into perspective the value of questioning through reason. The questions raised that are unanswerable in principle are still meaningful and important. I am aware that the just of this has been said many times and was certainly better articulated than my words.

I just find this passage from Bertrand Russell "The Problems of Philosophy" to be very thoughtful and almost haunting. The possibilities of human thought and reasoning seem endless. The search for truth, answers to the ultimate questions, or for the ultimate questions themselves is what Russell seems to portray as an infinite journey that sets the mind free. Reality is potentially a person makes of it, so it may not be what I perceive it to be and I like the possibilities of this.

Socrates said "an unexamined life is not worth living." Philosophical questions are not being asked by many people these days, especially in my generation of the technologically spoiled. I guess I just find it impressive if anyone can truly devote their life to the pursuit of knowledge...