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Philosophy in Abstraction

Why are all philosophy classes a giant load of nonsense?

Every course I’ve taken in the discipline feels like such wasted potential. There are so many fascinating questions and issues to explore in philosophy.

What does it mean to be beautiful?

How do we know what we know?

What is human nature?

How do we assign value to things in our world? What are the consequences and implications of the way humans communicate with one another?

Image from Telstar Logistics via Flickr Creative Commons license

[Image from Telstar Logistics via Flickr Creative Commons license]

Yet every philosophy course I have taken buries these issues in jargon and pointless theory. The key questions the courses purport to discuss are swallowed alive by a circular quicksand of useless arguments about arguments.

I don’t come to philosophy wanting to study the egomaniacal freaks who come up with this detached academic babble. I want to discuss the significant issues that make up the forgotten backbone of the self-interested theory machine that modern philosophy instruction has seemingly become.

Image from Álvaro Herraiz via Flickr Creative Commons license

[Image from Álvaro Herraiz via Flickr Creative Commons license]

If only some of these theories would at least be applied clearly to real-world discussion at some point the situation would be a lot more tolerable, but they never are. I just can’t believe that this endless cycle of learning about arguments that argue about arguments is truly necessary to delve into the philosophical questions that surround human life. Why sidestep the real issues by learning about theories instead?

I’m not claiming that these theories have no value at all. They just need to be brought down out of the clouds and grounded in actual, practical discussion so the focus shifts back to philosophical issues and away from the niggling details of theory construction.

Maybe this is just my isolated experience or perhaps I’m simply missing something, but my sneaking suspicion is that pretty much the whole of philosophical instruction is this way today, at least to some degree, and this should just be filed in the bursting folder of issues that I have with the modern educational system.

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