Apropos my previous post, it was suggested that the single most confusing aspect of philosophy explaining why philosophy is relevant.  Can we justify ourselves?

I figure that no one is worrying about medical ethics.  What about metaphysics, obscure logic, and all the other good stuff that us philosophers call our own?  If we can justify that stuff to the general public, then I figure we’re OK for everything else too.

The things people care about here and now are generally the basics of life: food, water, safety, and, if their lucky, to have some sort of opportunity for a better life for themselves and their family.  For something to be relevant means that it has to directly affect someone along these lines.

I suppose there are a few ways to try to connect philosophy with the basics of life.  Perhaps the shortest is through fear.  If someone is nervous about something, then it is relevant to that person.  Philosophy can be some scary stuff:  You have some core beliefs?  Let me show you how they aren’t worth a damn.  You think you are a good person?  Here’s why you’re not.  You think you are sane?  Don’t be so sure about it…

Basically we have to get mean.

It’s not that people’s core beliefs are worthless or that they actually are bad people or anything else.  It’s just that with enough obscure argumentation skill, you can take things away from people that most people don’t think can be taken away.  (And then also teach how to protect oneself from such attacks. )  This would solve questions about relevance.