The Tim Ferris Show: How Philosphy Can Change Your LIfe, with Alain de Botton

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, Listen HERE

Summary:

Alain de Botton is a not a philosopher’s philosopher. This means that his work is given little consideration inside academia. It also means that he speaks to many, many more people—ordinary people hungry for humanist ideas about living—than his peers. In his podcast “How Philosophy can change your life”, de Botton tells us that he’d always looked to philosophy as a discipline that “has wise things to say about everyday worries…. Philosophy promised something that might sound a little naïve, but was in fact rather profound: A way to learn to be happy.” I’m still not sure if this sounds more naïve or profound, but de Botton’s podcasts, concern thinkers who surely knew the difference.

Book Recommendations/Mentions:

  • Having trouble quieting your mind to get to sleep? Start writing down everything you are thinking (short words/phrases about the idea are enough) on a piece of payer before laying you head down
  • A correct description of the self and the world would carry with it an implicit prescription concerning the way one should live one’s life.
  • Philosophy occupies a middle ground between religion and poetry, on the one side, and the empirical sciences on the other.
  • Philosophy, at its core, always deals with questions of meaning, value, purpose, and priorities.
  • Philosophy doesn’t just tell us what to believe. It also helps us improve our thinking by improving our ability to be reasonable.
  • Reading, writing, and debating philosophy helps improve our intuitive ability to understand what it means to be reasonable.
  • By practicing philosophical thought we transform ourselves into the kind of person who tends to think more reasonably, and becoming a more reasonable sort of person can help us detect poor reasoning.
  • Philosophy helps assure us that manipulation and poor arguments will have a lower impact on our beliefs, and good arguments and evidence will have a larger impact on our beliefs.
  • Philosophy forces us to let others question our beliefs and for us to question our own beliefs.
  • The most powerful impact philosophy has on people in general is by debunking common unjustified beliefs or assumptions that can’t withstand scrutiny.
  • It also examines the relationships between humanity and nature and between the individual and society.
  • Philosophy arises out of wonder, curiosity, and the desire to know and understand.
  • The ideas people live and die for, go to war for and kill each other for, or let themselves be inspired to the making of great art or science, are all philosophical ideas.
  • All ideas about philosophy or science, including those that ridicule or condemn philosophy or science, are themselves philosophical ideas, and such as declare all philosophy useless, trifling, or impossible are little better than a refusal to do any serious philosophical or scientific reasoning.
  • The value of philosophy is the scope and clarity of mind it provides, especially as regards the fundamental general questions every human being somehow must answer, if only by tacit and blind consent to previous answers.

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