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Weingarten: Is philosophy weird?

Why everyone can find value in philosophy.
Opinion+Editor+Caleb+Weingarten+discusses+the+importance+of+an+education+in+the+humanities.+
Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily
Opinion Editor Caleb Weingarten discusses the importance of an education in the humanities.

On the first day of classes, I was fortunate to find out that I shared a philosophy class with a fellow student I had known since my freshman year. 

Toward the end of the period, a different student uttered an odd statement that had little to do with the class. It left the professor saying “I’m not going to touch that topic.”

As we were walking out of the building, my friend turned to me and said, “Those philosophy kids are a weird group, aren’t they?”

Truthfully, I did not know how to answer this question. Is it true that philosophy is a weird subject? Are those who deep-dive into philosophical questions “weird”?

In my friend’s defense, I do not think he was aware that I took a great interest in philosophy. I firmly believe that philosophy provides a foundation for which to build yourself up from. This takes the form of critical, logical thinking and decisive reasoning skills. 

In addition, philosophy is applicable in any field or walk of life. You can conduct your work through philosophies that companies subscribe to (such as a mission statement or an explicit goal) or deal with the aches and pains of the world like a Zen Buddhist (through meditation and profound introspection). Philosophy gives you a new lens to see life through, and I now understand this may be “weird” to people who have not yet realized this for themselves. 

Philosophy teaches us how much there is to learn and how long that process is. Life is a limited endeavor. The ability for us to do everything we want isn’t possible. 

However, having a life view constructed by a philosophical approach means not wasting energy with things that do fit into your life. I hesitate to direct anyone to any type of philosophy. It is a highly individualistic thing. You may not enjoy the highly abstract, esoteric study of philosophy. However, schools of thought such as Stoicism, which has gained massive popularity for its practical application, are easily available to the general public who may not have a large interest in the broader picture of philosophy. 

In short, I do not believe philosophy is weird. It is no weirder than literature or politics and often clarifies subjects such as these to keep them on track. To study philosophy means that you are opening yourself up to the world with the intention of never closing away. And with something like that, nothing can get in your way. 

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  • M

    Mabel Darling | Aug 25, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Remember what PhD stands for in any field. I added Philosophy as a second major and finished both degrees at ISU in 2005, and I still use what I learned from my philosophy professors every day, though capitalism will never value that wisdom.

    Reply
    • C

      Caleb Weingarten | Sep 12, 2023 at 1:22 pm

      You’re one hundred percent right! Thank you for sharing.

      Reply