More on too much philosophy

Saleh asks:

How to stop thinking philosophically about everything? I feel that instead of enjoying life and the things around me I put so much energy and time analyzing them and looking for explanations like thinking in terms of of Aristotle’s causes or in terms of part-whole relations and so many ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. So how to lose interest in that or at least how to learn not to put so put so much energy and time on it?

Answer by Craig Skinner

Geoffrey Klempner has given a brilliant answer. I agree with all he says.

I just want to add one comment.

One reason people may be put off philosophy is that the subject sometimes seems remote from everyday life. Modern academic philosophy is a specialized, technical field with journal articles opaque to the general reader or even to other philosophers working in different branches of the subject. And  I can understand that the average student might wilt during the seminar on alternatives to material implication as truth conditions for counterfactual conditionals, and head for a fun evening with friends as soon as it’s over.

But philosophy wasnt always a subject for essays, exams and degrees.

How should we live? That was the central question for the ancient greats, with Socrates, Aristotle, Stoics, Epicureans and Neoplatonists (and the greats of Indian and Chinese philosophy) offering different, overlapping views. They all assumed cosmic order within which humanity had a proper place, and the task was to define that place. But this was overtaken in the West by Christianity, which imposed its own vision of how we should live. However, it has resurfaced, especially in Continental philosophy, since the “death of God” but without the assumption of cosmic order, so that the question has become, not how should we live, but how might we live, the central concern of Deleuze, Derrida or Foucault. If there are no constraints due to preordained cosmic order or fixed human nature (I dont say I agree with this), then we can improvise and experiment with ways of living, and not just understand, but change, the world, maybe for the better.

At any rate, philosophy as a way of life is back on the table, whether Socratic, Stoic, Aristotelian, Deleuzian, Nagarjunian or whatever, and Geoffrey and Pathways has done much to promote the idea that philosophy is for everybody and is central to worthwhile human life.

One thought on “More on too much philosophy

  1. The poster asks, “So how to lose interest in that or at least how to learn not to put so put so much energy and time on it”

    The poster appears to be looking for a more balanced experience, one not so dominated by the kind of endlessly compulsive analysis which is so common for we of a philosophical nature.

    The solution to too much philosophy is NOT more philosophy, just as the solution to eating too much food is not to eat even more.

    Useful answers would guide the poster towards forms of experience which help them journey out of the realm of abstraction and in to the real world. The poster isn’t asking for more philosophy, they are asking how to experience less. They are looking for balance, an entirely rational quest.

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