Re: Why read philosophy?

Ken Clements (
Mon, 04 Oct 1999 17:55:35 -0700

David Lubkin wrote:

> What I've read or heard in the past has dealt with important questions, but always
> seemed like a waste of time -- people arguing back and forth, with very few
> verifiable facts in their arguments.  And the books seemed too dry and dense to read.
> But many of you don't feel this way.  So I'd like to understand why you read and
> discuss philosophy, and what you'd recommend I read as a seductive introduction.

Dear David,

I recommend that you do not try to dive into the traditional texts directly, but rather, given that you come from a background in engineering, you should read the writers from science and engineering who are working philosophy into what they are doing, or are looking back over what they have done.

A good example is Richard Feynman. Feynman professed to hate philosophy. I have a tape of him bitterly complaining about his college philosophy class in which he claimed that most of their time was spent debating the chicken that was not in the refrigerator. But then, the experiences of his life *made* him a philosopher. I suggest you read his book _The Meaning of It All_, which can be nothing if it is not a work of philosophy. Here is a quote:

Good luck,