The Advantages of Interacting With Classical Philosophy

By Raymond articles Published 09/26/2008 | Social Issues

As you may be aware, each generation and culture generates its own brand of philosophy.  Even if you are not interested in entering into philosophical debate, learning about classical authors will help sharpen your intellect and critical thinking skills.  Without a question, you will also have the advantage of seeing your own life in a different perspective.

In some cases, you may believe that it is best to study contemporary Philosophy in order to understand your own generation. That said, many of the modern concepts are simply revisions of classical writings.  Without a question, if you read authors like Plato, you will see a rich fabric of thoughts and concepts.  You may even find that reading classical authors sheds  more light on the current situation than you realized.

Consider a situation where you are concerned about the ever escalating disaster in the financial markets.  As you may be aware, many politicians are advocating an increased amount of control over business owners.  This level of control will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve without compliance audits and other means of enforcing disclosure guidelines.  Essentially, the government will be demanding that business owners become more open about their financial transactions. 

Interestingly enough, if you read the story of Glaucon's Ring, you will be able to see how this type of thinking develops.  Without a question, being able to hide one's actions is a power in and of itself.  And, as you will see from the story of Glaucon's Ring, even the most moral person will slip into all kinds of mayhem if they can get away with it.

Irregardless of how you feel about the financial sector bailout plan, it will be of some help to turn to the classical philosophers and see how they look at human nature.  While their views may be somewhat cynical, there is no question that failing to accurately gauge risks played a key factor in the current financial melt down.  Unfortunately, if you apply the same understanding to money driven concepts like “drill baby, drill”, you may also see that destroying the environment for the sake of energy may well lead to the extermination of humanity in the next 20 years.

When you are driving a car, there is no question that failure to see an obstacle entering  your path will cause a collision.   The inability to properly understand the ramifications of risky behavior, such as gambling on  the future growth of a business has already led to at least one global financial crisis. In some cases, simply going back and reading the works of classical philosophers will give you a better understanding of the current situation, as well as give you some ideas about how to manage your own future.