Philosophy is dead.
Not that I can say that with any degree of certainty. Such certainties are never a given within philosophical pursuits. But its role within intellectual discourse has certainly been diminished.
Many have forgotten the behemoth that was once Philosophy. Hell, we forget how much we owe to philosophy. An infamous example is the ‘P’ in Ph.D. Science, ethics, politics, mathematics, and a host of other fields owe the philosophers a debt of gratitude.
But who are the great thinkers of our era? Can any of them be considered ‘philosophers’? Its role in society has be usurped by the scientists, activists, and even comedians… seemingly making the discipline of philosophy an obsolete exercise. Can Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Stephen Colbert be considered our era’s David Hume and Niccolo Machiavelli?
What can philosophy reveal to us today? And how can these revelations be applied? In my opinion… who gives a shit?
Practicality was never my forte. And finding solutions to modern problems probably won’t be found in metaphysical discussion. But what does it matter?
Does it mean that philosophy is useless?
When it comes to finding definitive answers, then probably. When engaging in philosophical discussions, finding truth is a fool’s errand. The real objective of philosophy is to find more questions.
Science has long been thought as the gateway to absolute truth. And in modern intellegencia, science can seemingly do no wrong. While the discovering of new knowledge is firmly in the monopoly of the scientists, that’s only one half of the equation.
Understanding is the other half. As the great Immanuel Kant said:
“Thoughts without concepts are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”
Knowledge in-itself is useless. It’s about what we do with the facts…what the figures reveal to us, and how we relate to them. Meaning isn’t found in the raw data. It’s found in our minds. Philosophy has long been the tool to help us unlock that meaning.
The stuffy academic halls have failed lively philosophical discourse. It has relegated itself to the useless textbooks and has prided itself on being inaccessible to the common person. What was long ago seen as a meaningful and beneficial profession, is sadly no more.
In my view, philosophy is best when it becomes an impartial spectator. No one ideology has a monopoly on meaning and truth. I don’t care about appealing to any one school of thought. I don’t really care about arriving at any practical conclusions.
The world is a complicated place. We only experience a small fraction of it. Yet, perhaps it’s far more accessable than what we realize. We might not be able to physically access these hidden manifolds within space and time, but we can explore them through the power of imagination.
We often underappreciate the tools that nature granted us. The brain is capable of many things, and it is indeed the last great frontier on this Earth. But it is through the imagination, that we might be granted a peak behind the curtain. And perhaps philosophy might not be able to bring us truth. But it can allow us to dig deeper into the world that we take for granted.
So we need a revival. We need a renaissance of philosophy. Now more than ever. In our highly digitalized world, knowledge is easy to come by. But we need more than knowledge. We need to know what that knowledge means to us. And we need to ask questions about the applicability of scientific revelations. We need to keep digging a little deeper into the worlds that were previously thought impossible.
Philosophy is dead. But our minds have the power resurrect it.