What You’d Share to Show Non-Philosophers the Value of Philosophy


Happy World Philosophy Day! World Philosophy Day is the creation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It’s aims include recognizing the value of philosophy, encouraging philosophical work, and raising awareness of philosophy among the public.

It’s all well and good to argue explicitly for the conclusion that philosophy is, in some way or another, valuable. Writing to that effect serves important purposes. But the value of philosophy can also be conveyed by good philosophy.

So, suppose you were tasked with showing someone who isn’t already interested in or working in philosophy that philosophy is valuable, not with a direct argument for that conclusion, but by providing them with a reasonably accessibly, relatively brief, piece of philosophy. What would you choose?

Don’t pick a whole book—that’s too long. We’re looking for easily shareable examples that have a good chance of being read in their entirety. Pieces that are the length of an essay or book chapter would work, but so could just a few well-chosen pages, or perhaps even just a paragraph.

Readers, please let us know your pick in the comments. If you’d like, say a little about why you’re choosing it. And then consider sharing your choice with others, perhaps by emailing it to them, or sharing it on social media (#worldphilosophyday on Twitter).

Amanda McCavour, “Compound Tangle”

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