is Phil for everyone?

I definitely am inclined to say "NO."

Romantic philosophy (waxing rhapsodic, reading great texts, thinking thoughts about life and meaning, etc) seems to be something that everyone is capable of doing (even if they choose not to).

Analytic philosophy, however, is more of a structured discourse that really requires one know the rules of the game. In order to argue for or against a theory, you have to have a good grasp on how that works.

The conflict: your average armchair philosopher thinks he is an analytic philosopher. Kinda like the way most guys think they know how to box and wrestle, even if they've never had a lesson.

Thoughts?

~TT

Yes, philosophy is important for everyone to know. People should care where they're from, and how to analyze arguments.

I agree. However, there are some people who clearly are not prepared for it.

One of the people I had in mind when I posted this was a girl I met my junior year. I was taking Philosophy of Religion, and it turned out that the course was listed as a GenEd course, so lots of non-majors took it just to satisfy a core requirement.

The first day, the teacher (who was a grad student, and only an okay one) was laying out terminology he expected people to know. He went through valid and sound arguments, premisses, conclusions, state of affairs/proposition, possible worlds, etc. As he's going over how to use "possible world" examples, he says "in the nearest possible world in which..." means that it should be like the actual world, with the one difference.

The gal sitting next to me, who had purple hair, immediately raises her hand and starts going "ooh! ohh!" excitedly. He calls on her and she nearly leaps out of her seat. "But what IS [dramatic voice] THE ACTUAL WORLD? I mean, you can't just say something like that in a philosophy class without telling us what it is!!!"

The grad student looks at her like she's crazy, and says "Uh, I just defined it. It's the summation of all the propositions aka states of affairs that are true."

Girl with purple hair: "And what are those?"

Grad student "Uh, everything."

This girl asked this same question, or one just like it, EVERY DAY for the whole semester. For her, the actual material of the course never got in the way, because her quest was to try to get this poor grad student to tell her what the actual world was.

*side note: after class he gave her a list of other classes in which she might find an answer, including Phil 100, Epistemology, and others. This did not in any way dissuade her from asking the SAME stupid irrelevant questions every day.

~TT

"Analytic philosophy, however, is more of a structured discourse that really requires one know the rules of the game. In order to argue for or against a theory, you have to have a good grasp on how that works."

Analytic philosophy has given us ideas that may be of interest to many. You donĀ“t have to be a working knowledge of model theory to be able to make use of philosophy.

And there are several ways to handle "possible worlds".

"Analytic philosophy has given us ideas that may be of interest to many."

Dogbert, I am not sure TT is using analytic in the same manner you are.

I think you are referring to analytic as the school of philosophy bearing the same name.

I think he is using analytic in a lesser sense to separate it from "Life is like a box of chocolates" thinking. Of course I maybe (and according to my wife often am) wrong.

As for the original question. I think no. I think the education should give people some exposure to it, like they do for other subjects. Those you find it interesting can pursue it.

" Yes, philosophy is important for everyone to know. People should care where they're from, and how to analyze arguments. "

A parallel argument would be, Yes, physics is important for everyone to know. People should care how the world works, and how to analyze physical structures.

or

Yes, folklore is important for everyone to know. People should care where their myths come from, and how to analyze those myths.

I think all areas of study are worthwhile, but not all are for everyone. If you can find meaning in math, or literature, or any other field go for it.

My mother thinks there is far more depth and meaning to be found in her garden than all the tomes of learning. I think there maybe truth her thinking.

When I refer to "analytic philosophy" above I am referring BOTH to the tradition of analytic philosophy, as well as good, technical discussion of philosophical material, as to be contrasted with the "life is like a bunch of chocolates" type of discourse.

As in "The dept. of phil I did my studies in was a very analytical department," meaning both senses of the term. (Which was, in fact, the case)

~TT

"I am referring BOTH to the tradition of analytic philosophy, as well as good, technical discussion of philosophical material"

OK. I can do one of those fairly well. I can do technical disussion of dead germans; however I did one course in analytical, and I was out of there. Does that mean I am a just doing wussy romantic philosophy and not doing the hardcore, good analytical stuff.

"Analytic philosophy, however, is more of a structured discourse that really requires one know the rules of the game. In order to argue for or against a theory, you have to have a good grasp on how that works."

I am no analyst. It's a real problem for me, because although I can think interesting things I can't organize my thoughts into a very coherent and understandable form. There are just too many things to juggle.

But at the same I feel that, as useful and entertaining as philosophy is, it just doesn't matter in the end. Besides, if it weren't for stupidities and contradictions we wouldn't have philosophy. It might even be said that philosophy has absolutely nothing, nor ever can, to do with life itself because it seeks to understand it with all its contradictions and son on. We just create an illusion which we think is similar to what we would like reality to be.

It could be just me. Regardless, it is a fun way to pass the time.

I think most people are able to do more than "life is like a bunch of chocolates" philosophy.

twinkle toes - remember, having a bunch of undergrads taking required philosophy courses is what keeps the philosophy department alive. As for the girl, there is always one in philosophy classes like her. I'm used to 100-200 ppl lectures where 3 ppl (the teacher, and 2 other students) do all the talking.

The one in my first year class:

Prof: if an old lady was being beaten by 4-5 large men, would you stop it if you were able, no personal damage would occur to you.

1st Year: No way, what if she deserved it?

Me: I'll keep that in mind if I ever see you being beaten.

She was also for letting children gouge out each others eyes because 'kids should be allowed to do what they want'.

I think a good teacher should control these people.

"I'm used to 100-200 ppl lectures where 3 ppl (the teacher, and 2 other students) do all the talking."

Yep, I was one of those two. I loved those classes! Looking through my notebooks this morning made me all nostalgic!

Ha, notes.

"But what IS [dramatic voice] THE ACTUAL WORLD? I mean, you can't just say something like that in a philosophy class without telling us what it is!!!"

LOL

I think almost everyone is capable of doing serious philosophy, but a lot of people don't want to. It doesn't interest them as much as the box of chocolates. That's fair enough, but it leads to confusion over what you mean when you say you study philosophy. It's like saying you wrestle and having people think you dress up in tights and a mask and hit people with chairs.

Cabal1,

I couldn't agree more.

~TT

No because I think some people need to talk (or be heard) more and some people to talk alot less. In general, people should be challeneged to look at what they believe and why. Thinking is good, im just not sure what to do with the people who refuse to do so...