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The ancient Greek philosophical schools taught comprehensive philosophies of

The ancient Greek philosophical schools taught comprehensive philosophies of life. For them, the whole point of doing philosophy was to determine how to live well. Why do contemporary philosophers not publish philosophies of life? Has the point of doing philosophy changed? If so, why?

or for another kind of response, you might still ask why many/most philosophers don't publish philosophies of life. You'd have to do an empirical survey there, but i'm guessing that for many, a philosophy of life is too big and hard to construct. Much easier to focus on some relatively narrow problem and work out a sophisticated view on it ... And I bet that professionally the incentive is to do the same. A "philosophy of life" is something that aims to the wider market, the general public, but the professional incentive is to impress the professional philosophers rather than the public. (Alternatively, perhaps many professional philosophers feel pretty confident that the main value in life, at least for them, is the very professing of philosophy -- so they are acting out their philosophy of life even without publishing their philosophy of life ....)

great question!

ap

Some contemporary philosophers do publish philosophies of life. For example, Paul Thagard's "The Brain and the Meaning of Life" (Princeton, 2010)and Robert Nozick, "The Examined Life" (1990). I suggest that you look at the article on the meaning of life in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. There is a good bibliography at the end of the article. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning/

What is value of knowledge?

What is value of knowledge?

Knowledge may be valuable in itself i.e. for its own sake. When you ask "What is the value of knowledge?" you may be asking what else is it valuable for. There is hardly any human activity that is not aided by relevant knowledge. Medicine and technology are the result of applying scientific knowledge to a vast range of human needs.

Knowledge may be valuable in itself i.e. for its own sake. When you ask "What is the value of knowledge?" you may be asking what else is it valuable for. There is hardly any human activity that is not aided by relevant knowledge. Medicine and technology are the result of applying scientific knowledge to a vast range of human needs.

There was something that I wanted so badly for so long. Now, I got it but I am

There was something that I wanted so badly for so long. Now, I got it but I am not as excited as I thought. How can we know what we want (our goal) in life?

Some recent papers by the psychologist Daniel Kahneman suggest that we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy. It is a good idea to read these to get a feel for human fallibility.

Philosophers often argue that reflecting rationally on our values and goals can lead us to pursue what we "really" want, and thereby lead to greater satisfaction. You might try this and see whether it helps.

Some Buddhists, and some psychologists, argue that pursuit of a goal is more exciting than achieving it. They suggest focussing on the activity rather than the desired result.

Some recent papers by the psychologist Daniel Kahneman suggest that we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy. It is a good idea to read these to get a feel for human fallibility. Philosophers often argue that reflecting rationally on our values and goals can lead us to pursue what we "really" want, and thereby lead to greater satisfaction. You might try this and see whether it helps. Some Buddhists, and some psychologists, argue that pursuit of a goal is more exciting than achieving it. They suggest focussing on the activity rather than the desired result.

Some recent papers by the psychologist Daniel Kahneman suggest that we are not very good at predicting what will make us happy. It is a good idea to read these to get a feel for human fallibility. Philosophers often argue that reflecting rationally on our values and goals can lead us to pursue what we "really" want, and thereby lead to greater satisfaction. You might try this and see whether it helps. Some Buddhists, and some psychologists, argue that pursuit of a goal is more exciting than achieving it. They suggest focussing on the activity rather than the desired result.

Can you in detail explain the diffrences between intrinsic value and

Can you in detail explain the diffrences between intrinsic value and instrumentally value?

"Instrumental value" is the easiest to begin with. It is the value that something has because it helps you get something that you really ("instrinsically") value. So money is valuable because you can buy things that you really like/want with it. Money would not be valuable if you could not use it in that way.

Intrinsic value is "value for its own sake" or "value independent of the consequences." Kant thought that goodness is instrinsically valuable. (Others, for example Bentham, thought that goodness is valuable only in so far as it increases the total happiness of a community.)

"Instrumental value" is the easiest to begin with. It is the value that something has because it helps you get something that you really ("instrinsically") value. So money is valuable because you can buy things that you really like/want with it. Money would not be valuable if you could not use it in that way. Intrinsic value is "value for its own sake" or "value independent of the consequences." Kant thought that goodness is instrinsically valuable. (Others, for example Bentham, thought that goodness is valuable only in so far as it increases the total happiness of a community.)

I am sixty and I find myself becoming removed from my life (my very nice life, I

I am sixty and I find myself becoming removed from my life (my very nice life, I might add). I watch, rather than participate. Everything I read about, see, or experience is similar to that which I have read about, seen or experienced before. I've been down that road before, I know where it goes, it's hard to stay engaged. It's hard to care. I know that in the broadest view everything turns out fine- all good things end and all bad things end. I am not unhappy at all. Am I just old?

Thanks for your very well put and honest sigh of a reflection. It does sound as though you are bored and detached. You say that it is hard to care - which is right to suggest that caring is an activity-- not a feeling that washes over. Could you make stronger efforts to care, to get involved? I've often found that Pascal was right - going through the motions can lead to authentic feelings.

I'm in the same time territory and sometimes I think that there is nothing to look forward to - nothing good at least - just losing people I feel as though I can't live without, the body breaking down, not being taken seriously, the nursing home. I think it is a scary period. Not that this makes any difference, but it has also struck me how much being in the present, in America at least, depends upon having a future, a dream. It is as though for us, no tomorrow means no today. Sad. And at a certain point our future does in fact become pretty narrow and, well, terrifying.

I just try to care - to be as kind as I can, to soften my spirit, but this approach has been something that I have gotten from yoga, not from western philosophy. Indeed, I think that the Socrates guild has encouraged us to think that there is no wisdom in the body and movement. And sometimes just moving the body - taking long walks will move the spirit. I would try that when the great numbness comes over you. all the best, Gordon

You sound either bored or depressed (you say you are "not unhappy" which sounds anhedonic). Perhaps philosophy can help. You say, "all good things and all bad things end"--what follows from that? Value can be found in non-eternal things. It may be unhelpful to think in terms of age (am I getting old?) and more useful to think in terms of developmental stage (I'm ready for the next stage, what will that be?). And if there is nothing that you can think of that you want to do for yourself, how about helping others?

As an individual that feels a sense of 'alienation' and a lack of meaning in the

As an individual that feels a sense of 'alienation' and a lack of meaning in the world, I still feel obliged to confer some kind of meaning to my own life to keep living a productive and composed life. However, existential thoughts about the possibility of not having existed before, then coming onto the stage of life and being confronted with a vivid reality and possessing tools to understand it and the imperative to act upon it while taking it to be the only reality one can ever understand, and then facing the paradoxical nature of death that will seemingly completely extinguish this effort and the identity of the individual, can be the most shocking and anxiety producing thoughts. Such thoughts makes it extremely challenging for an individual to find a sense of incontrovertible meaning that dissolves such contradictory thoughts (like the above) and also provide true meaning for the individual to act productively in their environment. How does one cope with this kind of a human condition?

Many philosophers, and many other kinds of thinkers, have grappled with this question, from the Epicureans through Heidegger, Sartre, and beyond. You could look at what they say, and/or at some accessible contemporary texts that draw on these ideas e.g. Havi Carel Illness: The Cry of the Flesh and Irvin Yalom Staring at the Sun. Some of us cope by thinking things through, others cope through not thinking about it at all.

Many philosophers, and many other kinds of thinkers, have grappled with this question, from the Epicureans through Heidegger, Sartre, and beyond. You could look at what they say, and/or at some accessible contemporary texts that draw on these ideas e.g. Havi Carel Illness: The Cry of the Flesh and Irvin Yalom Staring at the Sun . Some of us cope by thinking things through, others cope through not thinking about it at all.