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Philosophy Bears and Fruit

From China Daily, Society must not shun philosophers

A friend of mine once told me a joke: A job hunter, a philosophy major, went here, there and everywhere in his search for employment, but in vain. Having run out of options, he swallowed his pride and took up the offer of playing a bear in a costume at a zoo. He was locked up in a cage, where he was supposed to imitate various bear-like movements to entertain visitors.

To his horror, another bear appeared in the cage and started approaching him. He panicked and was on the brink of collapse when the bear said: "Don't be afraid. I'm also a philosophy major."

Funny and somewhat ridiculous, the joke does reveal an essential truth. In a society geared towards immediate gains, philosophy seems unable to produce tangible benefits. For the majority, philosophy seems virtually useless.

The author goes on to lay claim to an interesting historical precedent.
"Germany, which lagged far behind Britain and France, rose quickly in the late 18th and 19th centuries because philosophy flourished during that period, among other things. Philosophy was so popular at the time that Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" could be found in young ladies' boudoirs. It is from this fertile soil that a galaxy of great names emerged, which still have a profound influence on our world today - Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hegel and Marx.

The great ancient Chinese civilization was created because our ancestors attached great importance to rational thinking. Ancient philosophical ideas were at the core of the governance of ancient kingdoms and dynasties."

Tend to agree.

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Comments

Amen to this!
In praise of hot air and all that :-)
Cheers, Carol

And speaking of philosophy and knowledge only being knowledge if it is useful. Did you catch the In Our Time last week about philisophical Pragmatism?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism

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