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Philosophy for Civilians Introduction

Why do we need philosophy? We don't. At least, we don't need philosophy in the same way as we need food or water or shelter against the heat or the cold. And if we do need philosophy -- as I will argue that we do - we do not need all varieties of it. Without the least disparagement to my many intelligent and productive and hard-working colleagues, or to myself, because I too am one of those colleagues - make my living teaching and writing philosophy- I do not believe that most capable adults will ever need much of what we professionals teach and write and talk about. But this is like knowing a useful bit about electricity. One need never understand amperage and frequencies and resistance to know how to reset a circuit breaker or plug appliances into a gas generator or rewire a lamp plug. But it helps enormously to know that little bit and to use that knowledge when it is needed.

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