The uses of philosophy

“Vain is the word of a philosopher, by which no mortal suffering is healed.  Just as medicine confers no benefit if it does not drive away bodily disease, so is philosophy useless if it does not drive away the suffering of the mind”.  (from “The Essential Epicurus”, trans. by Eugene O’Connor, Great Books in Philosophy series, quoting Epicurus).

Philosophy, or so it seems, has become a dry pursuit of the meaning of words , and lengthy investigations into the thought of philosophic writers, using long words inaccessible to most people in the street.  This approach to philosophy fails to “ drive away the suffering of the mind”.  On the contrary, it exasperates all those who want to understand, but cannot navigate,  the thicket of words.

What we seek to do here is to take modern issues and try to look at them, as it were, through the eyes of Epicurus.  Although he lived at a time and in a culture difficult for us to appreciate, Epicurus was a pragmatist.  Pleasure and peace of mind were his objectives.  They should be ours as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.