Is Philosophy Useful?

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Is Philosophy useful?

Yes - It shapes worldview... 11 57.89%
No - It's too abstract w... 3 15.79%
Sort of - It develops cri... 5 26.32%
Other/in between/see results 0 0.00%

A Huffington Post Blog talked about Neil deGrasse Tyson's comments about philosophy being useless and his argument against those statements:

From the blog (read the rest there)

It seems like my friend Neil deGrasse Tyson [1] has done it again: He has dismissed philosophy as a useless enterprise and actually advised bright students to stay away from it. It is not the first time Neil has done this sort of thing, and he is far from being the only scientist to do so. But in his case the offense is particularly egregious, for two reasons: first, because he is a highly visible science communicator, and second, because I told him not to, several times.

Let's start with the latest episode, work our way back to a few others of the same kind (to establish that this is a pattern, not an unfortunate fluke), and then carefully tackle exactly where Neil and a number of his colleagues go wrong. But before any of that, let me try to halt the obvious objection to this entire essay in its tracks: No, this isn't about defending "my" turf, for the simple reason that both philosophy and science are my turf [2]. I have practiced both disciplines as a scholar/researcher, I have taught introductory and graduate-level classes in both fields, and I have written books about them both. So, while what follows inevitably will unfold as a defense of philosophy (yet again! [3]), it is a principled defense, not a petty one, and it most certainly doesn't come from any kind of science envy.


So what do you think? Are there uses for Philosophy in our lives?

Personally, I believe it can shape our wordviews and outlook on life beyond what Science can provide, so I think it can be important. What do you think?

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He presents the new Cosmos space time series? So I guess he doesn't believe in what he is presenting. Philosophy is very much tied to scientific discovery.

Just a little example: Plato's lesson on quantum mechanics

Cognitive science and philosophy go hand in hand. You need to be able to ask the right questions first before you can find answers.

Philosophy has run its course. It's the thing that spawned science. But now we have the scientific method and philosophy doesn't produce any results anymore.
Now it's just a way for people to make themselves feel smarter while saying nothing.

If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

Philosophy is the basis of all intellectual discourse. Now i agree that it does not have much relevance in the day-to-day, but it never has: however philosophical contributions do provide framework for later tectonic shifts in the "pure" and social sciences.

Monster Hunter: pissing me off since 2010.

I suppose it's how you define useless.

Philosophy more or less serves the same purpose as religion, except instead of being tribute to a mystical unknowing force... it's a tribute to ones own ego.

Just like religion, philosophy likely prevents a lot of people acting like objectivist dicks.

Can philosophy tell us anything interesting about the world? No. But it's in our best interest for people to think so.


This can be shown by this guy's response being posted... and nowhere in it does he remotely approach a point.


His two defenses of philiosophy basically boil down to... "Philosphers agree on stuff and people come up with new theroies and things change!"

and "Philosphy used to be imprortant for science before we got science down, so you should respect that."


Arguements you could eaisly make for religion as well.

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The thinking skills acquired from studying philosophy are definitely useful when applied to other areas, but its not useful if studied on its own - if "useful" is defined as something which promotes tangible accomplishments in the world. While it can be beneficial to the development of a person, it will not lead to actual advancements without the help of another science. I agree with Tyson on this: extremely bright people should prioritize their study to sciences like physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, etc. rather than philosophy, as those sciences that can utilize their potential for actual tangible benefits. A student shouldn't devote their studies to philosophy, although it could be a good supplement to some other field of study.

Philosophy is bad for you.

I fear becoming too science centric in education. I feel that devalues all things not "science". You know, the opinion "all bright students should study science foremost and not philosophy or other lower crap". I think that's off base and dismissive if that's really what people believe.

What is science without philosophy and ethics? Philosophy isn't some arbitrary set of rules like religion. Where does that mildly idiotic comparison even come from? Philosophy is a highly reasoned and logical approach to behavior and creating a system of values for oneself and for society in its government; it is key to having an examined life. If someone thinks science can have much value without some philosophy then I believe they are overstepping the definition of science.

Science is just a type of imperical method of investigation. Another part of a well examined life. I wouldn't call it a replacement for philosophy in any way. 

Skidonti said:

Philosophy is a highly reasoned and logical approach to behavior and creating a system of values for oneself and for society in its government; it is key to having an examined life.

The thing is, these skills can be obtained without ever formally studying philosophy.

My philosophy is: "Don't bother too much with philosophy"

“It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.”

- George Orwell, ‘1984’