Author: Neven Sesardic

Study Philosophy to Improve Thinking—A Case of False Advertising?

A company advertises product X by claiming that it substantially improves memory and staves off dementia. The company provides no convincing evidence for these claims, and scientific studies fail to confirm the existence of the stipulated effects. Would you buy X? Probably not. Would the government and consumer protection agencies allow X to be freely marketed without at least a warning to potential gullible customers? Hardly, it seems. Yet there is a similar product X, which has been sold to tens of thousands of people for decades without a murmur. I am talking here about studying philosophy at a university as a way of improving one’s thinking skills. Obviously there are different reasons why students choose to study philosophy: they may find it intrinsically interesting or want to become professional philosophers or hope to discover the meaning of life or… But presumably an important reason for investing in studying philosophy—for the majority of students who do not plan to become philosophy professors—is the belief that this will make them better thinkers and perhaps also increase …