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Value of Philosophy – Essays and Lists

CHAPTER XV : THE VALUE OF PHILOSOPHY

❶The main goal of this essay is to speak about the value of philosophy discussed in the works by Plato, Socrates and Bertrand Russell and give personal view on this matter.

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All ancient philosophers, such as Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and others were constantly involved in the discussion of the value of philosophy. Among the most obvious advantages of philosophy is critical thinking, which it teaches to all of its followers, ethics theory, definition and explanation of such basic concepts as matter, being, space, time and etc, explanation of origins of life on the Earth.

Nowadays, it is possible to major in philosophy and become a versatile person having knowledge in all spheres of life. The main goal of this essay is to speak about the value of philosophy discussed in the works by Plato, Socrates and Bertrand Russell and give personal view on this matter.

This work is written in form of a dialogue, depicting Socrates speeches while he is defending himself in the court. Socrates was a kind of philosopher that was ready to die for philosophy but would never refuse to study it and obey its laws. Socrates viewed philosophy as the base to understand human inner world and to attain unique self-knowledge, which is very important to every human being. Philosophy for Socrates was the universal tool of reasoning, with the help of which all things could be defined and explained.

In the Apology Socrates revealed his utter devotion to the truth, for which he was even ready to die. Socrates strongly believed in the power of reason, which he possessed by means of philosophy.

However, the main reason which made Socrates deliver such speech in the court, was to explain why he was accused, which of course was wrong. For Plato the main values of humanity were the ability to speak and think, thus he used the allegory of the cave to explain why exactly these two activities were so important. In this book Plato referred to the misunderstanding of reality, because people depicted there saw the shadows but not the real objects, however, they perceived them as real.

Plato supposed that people in the cave could talk. However, he said that they would talk about the shadows they saw, but not the objects that produced the shadows as they were unable to see the real things.

Thus, the main point of Plato, which he tried to emphasize in his book, was that people give names to the objects according to their internal content, which is perceived with the mind, but not according to what can be seen with the help of eyes. When people in the cave turn their heads they see the real objects and realise how much they were mistaken, because they saw the shadows of the objects, but not their internal content.

In his book Plato widely spoke about the importance of reflective understanding as one of the chief values of philosophy. The philosopher taught his followers to think and realize the reality in correct way in order not to make errors while perceiving the world around.

The author underlines that the main value of philosophy is to provide people with knowledge about everything and to give clear answers to the questions posed by different people at different times.

Philosophy is considered to be a mother of all sciences, on the base of which such sciences as mathematics, history, geography, political science, law and others were formed. There are a lot of examples to prove it, just think that all famous mathematicians and physicians, including Newton, are also considered to be prominent philosophers.

This happens not because these people wanted to be called so, but because in order to reach success in other sciences they had to study philosophy first. Philosophy as a science studies a great variety of objects despite their nature being positive or negative. From the view point of Russell philosophy should be studied not in order to find answers to the questions, but in order to find questions to answer.

It is exclusively among the goods of the mind that the value of philosophy is to be found; and only those who are not indifferent to these goods can be persuaded that the study of philosophy is not a waste of time.

Philosophy, like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge. The knowledge it aims at is the kind of knowledge which gives unity and system to the body of the sciences, and the kind which results from a critical examination of the grounds of our convictions, prejudices, and beliefs.

But it cannot be maintained that philosophy has had any very great measure of success in its attempts to provide definite answers to its questions. If you ask a mathematician, a mineralogist, a historian, or any other man of learning, what definite body of truths has been ascertained by his science, his answer will last as long as you are willing to listen.

But if you put the same question to a philosopher, he will, if he is candid, have to confess that his study has not achieved positive results such as have been achieved by other sciences. It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science. The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton's great work was called 'the mathematical principles of natural philosophy'.

Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been separated from philosophy and has become the science of psychology. Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: This is, however, only a part of the truth concerning the uncertainty of philosophy. There are many questions -- and among them those that are of the profoundest interest to our spiritual life -- which, so far as we can see, must remain insoluble to the human intellect unless its powers become of quite a different order from what they are now.

Has the universe any unity of plan or purpose, or is it a fortuitous concourse of atoms? Is consciousness a permanent part of the universe, giving hope of indefinite growth in wisdom, or is it a transitory accident on a small planet on which life must ultimately become impossible?

Are good and evil of importance to the universe or only to man? Such questions are asked by philosophy, and variously answered by various philosophers. But it would seem that, whether answers be otherwise discoverable or not, the answers suggested by philosophy are none of them demonstrably true.

Yet, however slight may be the hope of discovering an answer, it is part of the business of philosophy to continue the consideration of such questions, to make us aware of their importance, to examine all the approaches to them, and to keep alive that speculative interest in the universe which is apt to be killed by confining ourselves to definitely ascertainable knowledge. Many philosophers, it is true, have held that philosophy could establish the truth of certain answers to such fundamental questions.

They have supposed that what is of most importance in religious beliefs could be proved by strict demonstration to be true. In order to judge of such attempts, it is necessary to take a survey of human knowledge, and to form an opinion as to its methods and its limitations. On such a subject it would be unwise to pronounce dogmatically; but if the investigations of our previous chapters have not led us astray, we shall be compelled to renounce the hope of finding philosophical proofs of religious beliefs.

We cannot, therefore, include as part of the value of philosophy any definite set of answers to such questions. Hence, once more, the value of philosophy must not depend upon any supposed body of definitely ascertainable knowledge to be acquired by those who study it. The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very uncertainty.

The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason.

To such a man the world tends to become definite, finite, obvious; common objects rouse no questions, and unfamiliar possibilities are contemptuously rejected.

As soon as we begin to philosophize, on the contrary, we find, as we saw in our opening chapters, that even the most everyday things lead to problems to which only very incomplete answers can be given. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom.

Thus, while diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, it greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect. Apart from its utility in showing unsuspected possibilities, philosophy has a value -- perhaps its chief value -- through the greatness of the objects which it contemplates, and the freedom from narrow and personal aims resulting from this contemplation.

The life of the instinctive man is shut up within the circle of his private interests: In such a life there is something feverish and confined, in comparison with which the philosophic life is calm and free. The private world of instinctive interests is a small one, set in the midst of a great and powerful world which must, sooner or later, lay our private world in ruins.

Unless we can so enlarge our interests as to include the whole outer world, we remain like a garrison in a beleagured fortress, knowing that the enemy prevents escape and that ultimate surrender is inevitable. In such a life there is no peace, but a constant strife between the insistence of desire and the powerlessness of will.


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Essay on The Value of Philosophy It is impossible to underestimate the value of philosophy in the 21st century as well as many centuries early. Knowledge and methods provided by philosophy can be applied everywhere: in natural sciences, industry, economy, education, medicine, political science, psychology, culture and people’s everyday life.

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In his Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell tackles the problem of the value of philosophy and why it should be studied. He claims that philosophy does have value for students of philosophy and for everyday life. Coming from a pragmatic view, Russell points out the practical consequences of studying philosophy.

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The Value of Philosophy and the Point of Our Lives It is basic human nature to question. There is a curiosity inside all of us that leads us to wonder about everything. There is a curiosity inside all of us that leads us to wonder about everything. Likewise, philosophy has great value to the lives of human beings. The view of philosophy arises from the wrong conceptions that people have about life. From the world of academia to the full application, the value of philosophy must be sought.

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The Value of Philosophy Essay example Words | 3 Pages T/Thu Philosophy In Russell’s discussion “The Value of Philosophy,” he asserted that the true goal of Philosophy wasn’t a tangible, or even reachable, goal. The Value of Philosophy Essay - The Value of Philosophy The word “philosophy” is derived from two ancient Greek words, “philos” meaning ‘love of’ and “sophia” meaning ‘wisdom’. Philosophers are lovers of .