Friday, April 12, 2013

Practical Benefits of Philosophy 1. Introduction

People like to say that philosophy offers no real, practical benefits, which is one way of saying that it’s pretty much just a waste of time. Oh sure, it’s fun to think about stuff, but what difference does it really make? 

I’ve long suspected, however, that a person’s big ideas actually do affect things, particularly his or her own behavior. Now, recent studies show that I may be correct after all. These studies were not conducted by philosophers or by anyone who knew anything much about philosophy. But they have a lot to say about the connection between particular understandings of the world and the way people act.

Today, I do not look at the broad spectrum of belief. That study will have to wait for another time. Rather, we will focus on one particular philosophical debate -- and see how behavior is affected based on where people stand in that debate. The dispute we consider is the argument between two philosophical viewpoints popularly known as essentialism and existentialism. 

 Stay tuned.


Next:  Essentialism

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