The tragedy of education is rather evident. It really begins to kick and scream for attention though, when, you are time and again faced with the height of witticism, which runs thus:
“…studying philosophy has made you a certified philosopher!…” Sometimes, to my horror the intent is not even to be funny, but to be profound; as in: So, what is your ‘personal philosophy of life’? EGAD!!!!!!!!!!
Of course this is just as well, for somewhere in a much celebrated institution that teaches ‘policy’– I’m told that Ayatollah was American, that there isn’t much more to Sustainable Development aside of equity and that dead weight loss is possible in perfect competition.
Philosophy like policy is about tangibles, established doctrines, and facts that are at some level indisputable. Years ago when I found philosophy fascinating it wasn’t because it was easy or because an endless rigmarole of how and why is capitvating. Philosophy did not help me ‘find myself’, it was not only about the means, nor was it about metaphysical mumbo-jumbo that no-one really understands.
Philosophy answers some really fascinating questions, just as probability does (what is the probability that, if you were to pick a random year, that year would start with a Sunday?) or game theory does (If you contrive to always differ whatever you’re asked in a game that based itself on choice, you’d win three-fourths of the time…) or for that matter economics or any other discipline does.
Sample this; the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio exist in nature. Is that an accident or divine? What if a person could indefinitely predict the outcome of a coin flip? What does it mean for the universe and for you and that chap in particular? Can you be an absolute pacifist and still practice a martial art? How can your tell your left foot from your right foot when there is nothing much you can say about one that doesn’t apply to the other? Could a brand new theory (mathematical or concerned with physics) contradict and even disprove an axiom of logic?
The point that I’m getting at is pretty simple really, what you derive from a discipline is a function of how much imagination you have the limits to your understanding. That is real beauty, isn’t it?