A cure for what ails us

What do philosophers do? Do they, like other academics, get doctorates, publish for fellow academics, strive for tenure and advance up the academic ladder? Alain de Botton defines a philosopher not as an ambitious academic, but as one who asks hard questions. Why do people work? Why do we travel? Why do we love? And why do we feel so rotten when we have so much stuff? De Botton reminds fellow philosophers of the time when their discipline’s founder, Socrates, wandered around asking people questions so basic to their lives that they should have known the answer, but often didn’t. He surprises those not given to turning to philosophy for help in daily life by showing them it can be just that.


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