I heard a story. I don’t know if it’s true. Someone asked Socrates, “what’s the point of philosophy? Why waste your time asking frivolous questions?” Socrates responded, “Ok, what should we do instead?”. It’s funny because asking ‘Why ask frivolous questions?’ is philosophical.
I’ve always wanted to answer that question, “Why we need philosophy,” in a blog post. The bottom line is that philosophy is understanding the fundamentals of a subject. I subscribe to the philosophy of Rationality which posits that there is an external, objective world that we perceive subjectively. The better we understand this world, the better off we will be. The two legs of rationality are: What do you know and how do you know it? (Epistemic Rationality), and what should you do about it? (Behavioral Rationality)
I recently heard this song called “Intentions” by Macklemore off his new album “Gemini”. The first few songs are incredible. I recommend giving it a listen. He talks about how he knows all the things he should do, and separately the things that he actually does do. He knows he should eat healthy, but he eats frozen pizza.
If his goal is to be fit, then he clearly understands what he should do. He should eat healthy. The fact that he doesn’t do it, means that he has poor Behavioral Rationality.
Philosophy, particularly rationality, will help you understand what you want and how to get it. If what you want is money, babes, admiration, legacy, exquisite food, and fine wine, philosophy will help you get it. If you don’t want to waste time asking frivolous questions, philosophy will help you find your goals. If you don’t want earthly pleasures, philosophy will help you understand what love is and how to find it. First, understand the world around you, as it is, and then act in a way that will make it how you wish it were.