“I need to be practical and not philosophical in life if have to get things done. If the whole world becomes philosophical, all that we’ve achieved with science today would still be a dream for mankind. All I have to say is, philosophy is just B.S.! Cheers!”
The vice president of marketing raised his tall clear glass half-filled with German Pilsner and a Duchenne smile on his face. With a dreamy look and a pretentious smile on my face, I clang my glass, then glanced at the shimmering light on the soft ripples of the Elbe river flowing below the restaurant I was dining at with my coworkers in Hamburg.
For years I ruminated over what was said about philosophy that night, and I concluded that philosophy is not B.S. In fact, philosophy drives our lives. It may have gotten a negative connotation attached to it because of those who think that philosophers are just dreamers—those who ponder life while staring at the stars and the moon— unlike the observational, experimental, and inferential approach that science takes. Thought or reasoning—that’s also a meaning of philosophy.
Undoubtedly, we all participate in thought and reasoning in every domain and on every day of our lives. Think of the strategic placement of products in specific locations in shopping malls, retail outlets, and grocery stores. That’s philosophy. It’s based on the thoughts of shoppers (gender, age, etc.). The digital display of ads that pop up in your browser is philosophy based on what you search and click on. There are innumerable examples I could give to elucidate that you and I use philosophy in our relationships, professions, and social lives every day.