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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Do We Still Need Philosophy?

Maria Adamos.

In an era where science, technology and economics are seen as the most valuable disciplines, the importance of philosophy is in question. In this paper I shall argue that philosophy is not only a discipline worth studying in schools, but also, and, more importantly, an activity worth pursuing in one's life, if one wants to be a responsible person and citizen. For most "philosophy" usually means the study of obscure and unanswerable questions that have nothing to do with our everyday lives. However, although it is true that at times philosophy is concerned with abstract and often unanswerable questions, it is of the greatest relevance to our everyday lives. Today, we live in a period comparable to that of the Fall of Rome, the Industrial Revolution, or Reformation where major changes are taking place in the values of the citizens of the world. The recent world events have shown that something went terribly wrong with human affairs, despite our advanced knowledge in science and technology. Philosophy, I shall argue, could greatly help in this area. The so-called "War On Terrorism" is actually a war mostly about two irreconcilable philosophies of life and ideals. Which ideal of life is best, and which action is most appropriate? In order to answer these questions adequately and honestly, we need to be willing to question both authority and previously held beliefs and assumptions. Philosophy from the time of its birth has been the activity that not only allows, but also demands of us to question authority as well as our own most cherished beliefs and ideals. By emphasizing critical thinking and reflection, philosophy encourages a way of life that is open-minded and tolerant, since it presupposes the ability to look at all sides of the issue. As a result, through philosophy we would be able to understand cultures different from our own and engage in dialogue with them about issues of justice and morality that are pivotal to the solution of the world problems today.


Maria Adamos  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Department of Literature and Philosophy
Georgia Southern University

  • Philosophy
  • Critical Thinking
  • Questioning
  • Tradition
  • Authority
  • Justice
  • World Problems

(30 min Conference Paper, English)