Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its
questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but
rather for the sake of the questions themselves"
Every generation asks the big questions: why am I here? What's the purpose of life? What is good/evil? Is there a god?
And every generation comes up with their own answers. The Matrix and LOST are just a couple examples of those answers.
Your question: From your observations, do you think most Americans really care about philosophy? Why or why not? Use specific examples from your own life.
Minimum, 150 words. Due Friday, Sept. 11.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Blog #18 - What's wrong with Americans?
Many have criticized Americans for not being too philosophical, especially when compared to Europeans. In Europe, philosophers can actually make a decent living by writing books and giving lecture tours, but in America, they are university professors (or high school teachers!).
Maybe this dislike for philosophy comes from the super specialized language that we hear in philosophical circles (remember the bottle of tea example from Zizek!). If we can't seem to talk about it or explain it in straight forward language, forget about it!
Also, America tends to have an anti-intellectualism streak to it. If you follow our history, there have been movements that have looked upon scientific advances or theories w/ suspicion and even fear (evolution just being one). This is the same country that revels in Redneck jokes.
But parts of me wants to disagree with this idea that Americans hate philosophy. A popular TV show like LOST is full of philosophical and religious references with some main characters named after dead philosophers. The 1999 movie, The Matrix, is a modern version of Plato's allergory of the cave, how mankind learns (and may learn too much). The movie calls into question simple things that we take for granted - can we trust our senses? If not, what do we trust? The Matrix was hugely popular and spawned two sequels (though not as good).
Plus, do we not need some kind of personal philosophy to guide us along life's journey? A moral compass of some kind to steer us through the tricky waters? Or is that what religion is for?
If we don't philosophy for a moral guide, then what good is it? British philosopher Sir Bertrand Russell said the following: