Philosophers and the Practical

July 12, 2006 at 12:19 am Leave a comment

There is a certain element of practicality about living in the world. Not just any possible world, but this world. Living in this world for a certain type of person is difficult.

It is especially difficult for the philosopher. Some often suppose that it is because practicality is incompatible with philosophy and philosophers. There may be an element of difficulty with incorporating philosophy and practicality. But it does not follow from this that philosophy and practicality are incompatible.

The world as it is, seems very ‘everyday.’ To put it in a Heideggerian spirit, the everydayness of the world is overwhelming. This everydayness can be overwhelming to the philosopher who concerns himself with a critical and rational approach to the world.

Why? For two reasons (probably more), because of need and irrationality. Philosophers must pay bills, go to the grocery store, sleep. They find themselves thrust into the world and must deal and make free choices in the world, follow their projects and manage to survival long enough to philosophize.

But also irrationality. What do I mean by this? Suffering, meaninglessness, cosmic loneliness and the Other. How does the public see philosophy and philosophers? It seems that this adds both to the everydayness of the world and to the difficult of being a philosopher now and for all time, past and future.


Entry filed under: social philosophy.

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