Why don't most people today learn philosophy given that it is the mother of all knowledge?Why don't most people today learn philosophy given that it is the mother of all knowledge?

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
While philosophy is not often studied in and of itself, many people do know quite a bit about philosophy because it is so involved in other studies. As you stated, philosophy is the base for much of our knowledge today. We don't often study philosophers like Plato just to learn what he had to say, but we do study such philosophers to understand the history and perspective of other fields of study. For example, anyone studying psychology will have to learn a lot of various philosophers because they will need to understand where the psychological theories come from. It is the same with many other fields of study as well. Once, only those studying philosophy would be familiar with Aristotle, Plato, or philosophical theories. Today, most people at least know who these people were and they know a little something about the philosophical theories that shaped our world today.
larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would not be so quick to relegate philosophy to the trashbin of history. In the present day and age, technology and the sciences are very much in vogue; yet one must remember that at one time, science and philosophy were one and the same. There are still many unanswered questions out there which philosophy attempts to answer. As long as there are unanswered questions, there will be a need for the discipline.

The true reason, however, that it is not universally studied is because it requires people to actually THINK, and reason. In this age of instant gratification; instant messaging, etc., the idea of working through a problem logically without some tangible outcome is not worth the effort. I remind those who feel this way--including several who have posted on this site--of the words of Plato: the unexamined life is not worth living.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main reason for this is that, while philosophy helped form the basis for all of the science and other learning that we have now, it is not important in any economic way.

People generally go to school in order to be able to get jobs that will give them a good life.  They may want to get some knowledge that will serve mainly to enrich them intellectually, but their main goal is to prepare for a career.  Philosophy does not prepare people for most careers.  It may be of intellectual and moral interest, but it does not repay the time and effort that would be taken to study it.

In today's world. most people cannot afford to study something that has as little practical application as philosophy, therefore, most people do not study it.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is indeed a shame that philosophy is not more widely studied.  In particular, study of logic could help all of us.  So could study of ethics.  As several people have noted above, philosophy is often considered irrelevant, impractical, and non-lucrative.  Partly, philosophy is also damaged because the word (which literally means "love of wisdom") can be appropriated by almost anyone.  Anyone can claim to be a philosopher or have a "philosophy" in the loosest senses of those words.  Therefore, a lot of dubious ideas get tossed around and discussed as "philosophy," even though many trained philosophers would reject those ideas on many solid logical grounds.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In recent years, the study of philosophy has been deemed unimportant. People look at those who pursue this field humorously and, many times, laugh saying,"you are studying how to think?"

In times far gone, the was not the understanding regarding philosophy as there is today. While base knowledge is needed, it has evolved.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There are a lot of different philosophies. People who have a liberal arts education do get a foundation in philosophy. However we don't teach it in K12 schools because we can barely teach our kids to read and write. There are too many subjects crammed into schools as it is.
gotin | Student

To learn philosophy, a people have to be "problems free". These days most people think how to survive and not how to live.

jonnypork | Student

For my opinion, the possible solution is that some people thought that learning philosophy was just a waste of time because they thought that philosophy came out of the mouth of some kind of a famous person like Conficius or Plato, that's all! HOwever, due to this kind of thinking which lead people to walk backward in stead of onward. Those people will not be developed because of not learning philosophy.