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What is Philosophy Before I explain what it is it might be worthwhile clarifying what it isnt Philosophy is not about two old men sitting around the fireplace discussing the meaning of life Unfortunately that is the type of mental picture most people have of the discipline It is generally seen as having little connection to real life and something you might engage in if you had nothing better to do with your time The worst myth about philosophy is the belief that it is a subject for the intellectual elite with no relevance to the common man That this is societys conception of philosophy is pitiful However philosophers have only themselves to blame for the present state of affairs They alone are responsible for detaching philosophy from the real world A case in point is the prevalent acceptance of Platos dichotomy between mindsoul and body This distinction has been presented in many forms real vs ideal spirit vs flesh earthly vs ethereal temporal vs eternal imperfect vs perfect If the layman were looking for support that philosophy has nothing to do with life in the real world he could find no finer advocate than Plato who in the Phaedo speaks through Socrates and suggests that to do philosophy is to prepare for death In fact to practice being dead Why Because of his acceptance of the idea that when you die the soul is separated from the body In Platos eyes doing philosophy is separating the soul from the body precisely so that one is not thinking about the here and now In other words you have to remove yourself from life in this world to be able to philosophize The reason why I am so condemnatory of modern philosophy is because it has generally accepted this dualism of Platos uncritically when his star student Aristotle did not My grievance is not simply that any philosopher took Platos
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