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Philosophy as it should be

In this podcast we're gonna talk philosophy. But not the tasteless and annoying kind, which we all knew all too well back in school, but rather the interesting and useful kind. Instead we will try to focus on what’s important. On identifying what living better means and of course how to get there. This is what I call practical philosophy. What are the objectives we should set our sights on and how to reach them.

Hi everyone Nicolas here, and as you've just heard, in this podcast we're gonna talk philosophy. But not the tasteless and annoying kind, which we all knew all too well back in school, but rather the interesting and useful kind. Well at least this is the goal I set for myself here.

Philosophy has a rather bad reputation. It merely keeps asking questions, never giving any answers, and the questions are often not particularly important anyway. Science, psychology, politics or economics, those are the truly useful fields.

And it's true, we can hardly deny that it isn't philosophy that puts men on the moon, bread on the table, or even that prevents countries from becoming dictatorships. And it also isn't the philosopher who gets called when one feels suicidal. So studying philosophy feels a bit like growing a third arm.

But. Originally philosophy wasn’t the kind of intellectual masturbation it seems to have become today. No, originally it was the art of thinking to improve human existence. Sounds better already. Ancient philosophers were all looking to understand the world and people for a more fulfilling life.

Now their definition of “fulfilling life” varied greatly from one to the other but that was precisely the first thing they had to think about. What does living well actually mean? Once the answer would be found, the other great pillar of philosophy would be the how. It’s good and all knowing the destination but it won’t exempt from preparing the trip.

And so philosophers weren’t merely there congratulating each other on their writing and rhetorical talents but they also were astronomers, scientists, mathematicians, psychologists, sociologists and even.. athletes. Yes, “a sound mind in a sound body” wasn’t just a popular saying to be largely ignored.

Well, we’re not here to go over the history of philosophy. That would precisely be falling into the trap of philosophy as a boring discipline, or at least one not quite super useful. No instead we will try to focus on what’s important.

So what is? Well, I’d like to propose that it is precisely about identifying what living better means and of course how to get there. This is what I call practical philosophy. What are the objectives we should set our sights on and how to reach them.

And for that we will need to do a little bit of astronomy, physics, biology, psychology, politics, sociology and even a tiny bit of mathematics.. very little I promise. Of course we will also be doing a bit of religion and “philosophy” broadly speaking. We’ll do a bit of cosmology (the study of the world), metaphysics (the nature of reality), epistemology (how to get knowledge), and primarily a lot of ethics (morality).. and of course we will go over the most interesting philosophies, either because they have great ideas to emulate or terrible ones to run away from.. ancient ones just as much as recent ones. We will see for instance epicureanism, which in my opinion is the first really practical philosophy, as much as it too has its own limitations.

Ok, this introduction needs not last forever and we might as well jump right ahead into the meat of it. So for the first episode I thought I would start with the beginning and the nature of existence, reality, knowledge and skepticism.

This is all well and good, and we’ll come back to that, but in the end for our first steps into our journey I would rather start with something more controversial and also more fascinating: death. Alright, that sounds a bit depressing I know but.. not really, it’s quite the opposite actually.. as we will see in the next episode.

Until then, thanks for listening to this introduction to FILIAPOLIS’ practical philosophy. Please do not hesitate to subscribe to the podcast or the Youtube channel and all the rest as well. See you soon.

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