People often ask me what I am going to “do” when I finish my philosophy studies. I struggle to respond to this question for two reasons. Firstly, one never quite “finishes” one’s philosophy studies, rather it is a work in progress, an enquiry about life and the world in which we inhabit, the posing of many questions to which absolute answers have still not been found. Secondly, the pursuit of philosophy does not lend itself to many job descriptions. Being a philosopher is, as Professor of Philosophy, Graham Priest describes, a kind of person rather than a job, a kind of person who thinks, asks questions and discusses ideas.
For all it apparent “loftiness” however and notions that such pursuits are best taken in the ivory tower of academia, philosophy has a much greater relevance to our ordinary lives that one might think. For many, the drive to question ideas and statements might be seen as unnecessary, standing in the way of more goal orientated tasks, however as Priest illustrates with a clever fictional dialogue between Socrates and Tony Abbott, the simple questioning of these goals often reveals the complex issues many policy decisions mask. If we are a democracy, and if we are to support our government’s decisions, we at least need to understand and agree with the principles behind those decisions. We cannot do this without asking the right questions. Who is asking these questions?
To read Priest’s dialogue go here: http://theconversation.com/when-tony-abbott-met-socrates-20360?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Weekend+Conversation&utm_content=The+Weekend+Conversation+CID_7f7ff3a7589b7a72bb34be21b392c1c8&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=When Tony Abbott met Socrates