For more details about people who study philosophy, see the next section.
1. Why Study Philosophy?
2. What Is Philosophy?
Let’s make a few things clear. Philosophy isn’t just esoteric pontification. It isn’t just some form of skepticism. And it certainly isn’t just pseudo-profound bullshit.
Perhaps philosophy is just, roughly, figuring out what to believe and how to live.
3. What Is Good Philosophy?
Notice that, according to that definition of philosophy, everyone does philosophy at some point.
Of course, not everyone does philosophy well. Doing philosophy well involves good reasoning and good living. Most of the time, these do not happen naturally or easily. We’ve got bad reasoning habits and plenty of ulterior motives to keep us from doing our best. So philosophy takes practice.
This is not to say that there is only one way to do philosophy, of course. Heck, that’s not even to say that there is only one way to do philosophy well. And it is certainly not to say that only certain people can do philosophy (or do it well). Anyone can learn the tools that philosophers use. So anyone can do philosophy well!
4. What Is A Philosopher?
What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of a philosopher? Seriously. What is it? I’m curious.
As I see it, philosophers are people who spend most of their time doing philosophy. If that’s right, then one need not be paid to do philosophy in order to be a philosopher. People who get paid to do philosophy would be a subset of philosophers: professional philosophers. And, of course, there might be philosophers who get paid to do academic philosophy: academic philosophers.
Maybe there are other kinds of philosophers that don’t fall into these categories.
5. Follow up
Maybe you’re wondering how to do philosophy. If so, here’s a very basic flowchart of the process: “A Philosophy Flowchart…“.