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Value of Philosophy – Essays and Lists

This is the Essays & Lists section of the Daily Nous Value of Philosophy Pages (VPP).

Essays Discussing the Pragmatic Benefits of Studying Philosophy

Be Employable, Study Philosophy” by Shannon Rupp at Salon.

The Unexpected Way Philosophy Majors Are Changing the World of Business” by Carolyn Gregoire at The Huffington Post.

Graduating with a philosophy degree? There’s more than Starbucks in your future” by Marnie Eisenstadt at

Essays Discussing The Value of Philosophical Inquiry 

Why I Think Research in Non-Applied, Non-Interdisciplinary, Non-Historical Philosophy is Worthwhile” by Bryan Frances.
“There are certain genuine puzzles regarding fundamentally important notions that only philosophers work on…  By putting philosophical problems in this ‘highly plausible, apparently jointly inconsistent, and nonscientific’ form there is little room for dismissive responses towards either the problems themselves or the goal of the research effort devoted to solving them…”

Good-for-Nothings” ( 2010 APA Presidential Address) by Susan Wolf (UNC Chapel Hill).
“I do not wish to deny that [pragmatic] reasons to study, support, and do philosophy are good reasons. These benefits are real and significant, and may well be the most effective ways of convincing the people around us that there is value in what we do. But they are not the whole story, and it seems to me dangerous not to mention and try better to understand the other part of the story… This other part has to do with the ways in which philosophy expands our imaginations and our minds and deepens our perspective on ourselves and our relation to the world. It has to do with whatever it is about philosophy that makes it worthy of our attention and energy in a way that is disproportional to its benefit to us as either useful or fun. The danger is that if we do not mention that philosophy has this other kind of value, we will stop noticing that it is there, and indeed, the more deeply entrenched welfarist conceptions of value become in our language and in our thought, the less likely it is that we will even recognize the possibility that it is there.”

Love, wisdom and wonder: three reasons to celebrate philosophy” by Matthew Beard (Notre Dame, Australia).
“There are [a] set of questions whose answers cannot be discovered either by formal or empirical inquiry. For instance, the question: ‘why should I be healthy?’ or ‘should I fear losing my life?’ cannot be deduced from the very concepts of life and health, nor discovered through observation of healthy, living beings. These questions demand an entirely different method of analysis. This, Berlin argues, is what defines philosophical questions: ones that ‘cannot be answered either by observation or calculation.’ This describes our questions about life and health. To answer these questions requires a kind of knowledge that neither formal nor empirical inquiry can attain. In this case, we need an understanding of the value of human life.”

Lists and Information

The American Philosophical Association’s “Philosophy: A Brief Guide For Undergraduates — Contains descriptions of philosophy, its subfields, and its uses.

Philosophy Students — a Tumblr of people in the news who studied philosophy in college, maintained by Zac Cogley (Northern Michigan).


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9 years ago

A very nice paper that argues for the intrinsic value of doing philosophy, by Susan Wolf:

Jeremy Henkel
Jeremy Henkel
9 years ago
Christopher Soriano
9 years ago

Here is a good essay explaining why we should teach philosophy in high school.

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