Philosophy is a useful field of studying because it’s basically distilled argumentation. Arguing is a kind of game: two opponents perform speech acts that are constrained by certain rules (e.g. non-contradiction), trying to gain points over one another by showing a flaw in the other’s argument and the lack of flaws in one’s own. It’s like mental karate: you study and practice a pattern of behavior and grow more and more adept at it. But the thing is that arguing isn’t just any game. It’s the most powerful game in the world, the game by which we settle disputes and decide how to allow each other to behave. Somebody who’s good at chess is just good at chess; somebody who’s good at arguing can basically take over the world, at least until they meet their match. So, for all those folks who think that philosphy is useless and want to treat college like white-collar job training: stop kidding yourselves. Nobody cares how good you are at reciting the four pillars of effective management or calculating the average rate of return for a low-risk investment. The people who rule the world are the ones who can take complex thoughts apart and put them back together again to win arguments: cognitive mechanics, AKA philosophers.
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