2 Answers

  1. Good afternoon, Nastya. There are quite a lot of practical applications of philosophy, and I will not be able to list them all. Therefore, I will limit myself to just a few interesting examples.

    First of all, medical humanities is currently developing very rapidly. These are issues that are at the intersection of medicine and the humanities, primarily philosophy. Medical humanities aims to help doctors better build relationships with their patients, as well as prepare them for situations of difficult ethical choices.

    Typical examples of topics that are addressed and discussed in the framework of medical humanities are the ethics of medical experiments on humans and animals, the problem of abortion and euthanasia, or, for example, situations when a patient, for example, has a tattoo “Do not resuscitate” (Russian version: “Do not pump out”). Of course, we can say that many of these situations are regulated by law, but the legislation, in turn, is not descended from Mars, but is created by people. This means that it should be the subject of discussion, and philosophy provides the tools for that discussion.

    The future doctor who takes an ethics course faces these questions as a student, and this, I think, is important. It is important to make future doctors think about it, discuss it with their classmates, etc. Because it seems to me that postponing these questions until a critical situation occurs (for example, when a person is brought to the doctor after an accident with a tattoo “do not pump out”) is not the best idea. Philosophy classes can provide a platform and tools for this (in the form of logic and ethics).

    Secondly, there are now interesting programs in the United States to teach philosophy in prisons. As far as I know, several major universities have such programs. I think this is a promising area of work. Firstly, because philosophy has a simple general educational meaning, i.e. it helps those prisoners who would like to rehabilitate and build a normal life after being released, better adapt to society, prepare for education, etc. Secondly, discussing issues of ethics, culture, etc., it seems to me, can make a person think about some things.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm far from thinking that this is a magic wand that can turn a hardened recidivist into an angel. But it seems to me that the educational and general education side of philosophy in this case can manifest itself in the best possible way.

    Third, philosophy teaches you to think in an original and critical way and to read complex texts.Such disciplines as logic and argumentation theory discipline thinking, and reading Kant and Hegel will prepare you for anything. Philosophy teaches us to ask questions and question everything, and this is a very important skill for expanding our knowledge of the world. Because, to quote Hawking, ” the main enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge.” And the whole history of philosophy is just a story about overcoming such an illusion of knowledge.

    It is important that the history of philosophy teaches us not just to read texts, but to critically consider them in the context of other texts. For example, if an untrained reader picks up Kant's Religion within Reason Alone, they will read it and probably not understand anything. If it is read by a person familiar with the philosophical context of the era, then, for example, in Kant's attacks against those who idealize the natural state of man, he will see a criticism of Rousseau, and in the statement that the original state of humanity is a war of all against all – a reference to Hobbes. It's almost like hyperlinks, but without the Internet – all the links are in the reader's head. And this, by the way, applies not only to philosophical literature, but also to fiction.

    By the way, philosophy is also useful for the development of natural sciences, and precisely for the reason described in the paragraph above. Don't you believe that philosophy could be useful for the development of science in the twentieth century? Then don't take my word for it, but read, for example, the books “Nature and the Greeks” and “Science and Humanism” by E. Schrodinger. Among the modern areas of philosophy that are closely intertwined with promising natural science topics, we can distinguish, for example, the philosophy of time (including the problem of time travel) and philosophical problems of consciousness and artificial intelligence. In these areas, theoretical natural science and philosophy are very closely intertwined with each other.

    But philosophy can not only potentially help scientific progress by stimulating curiosity and creative thinking. Scientific progress itself creates many new ethical challenges. For example, the creation of new systems of monitoring and surveillance of the population, as in modern China, but at the same time in other countries, for example, the PRISM program in the United States, undermines democracy and creates a huge set of new ethical problems that a few decades ago were not raised at all. Similarly, new military technologies, from nuclear weapons to automated military systems, generate an endless stream of new questions. For example, how much can an unmanned bomber be automated? Should we leave, relatively speaking, the launch of the rocket to the human operator, or does it make sense to make this process completely automatic?

    Well, where the army is, there is politics and law next to it. And in the sphere of politics and law, philosophy has always played a big role. Because here you have to solve a lot of purely philosophical problems, for example, about the relationship between the interests of the individual and society, society and the state, about freedom and responsibility, about the limits of permissible freedom, etc.And, again, it's like with doctors: the sooner a person starts to think about this and the more he will encounter different points of view on this matter, formulated in different philosophical works, the better.

  2. The question was asked to Stanislav, but I would still like to throw up a few more concrete examples, from those that are quite visible:

    • Philosophers Amartya Sen (Nobel Prize winner) and Martha Nussbaum developed the capability approach in the 1980s , a conceptual framework in which social well – being is interpreted, evaluated and measured in terms of human capabilities-that is, whether people are able to realize their potential. The United Nations has long been working within the capability approach framework – this conceptual framework is the basis for the Human Development Index (published since 1990) and other UN indices.
    • More recently, self-driving cars have taken to the roads – and it has become obvious that in emergency situations you have to make ethical decisions that a live driver can make, but artificial intelligence can't. Therefore, the research program “Ethical Algorithms for Autonomous Vehicles” was launched, in which philosophers together with engineers develop algorithms for making such decisions that formalize ethical theories. This raises interesting questions, which are now being vigorously discussed – what theories should be used as the basis for”robot morality”? Do we need one universal algorithm or a panel of “ethical settings”? For example, a ” selfish “car will try to save the owner's life in any emergency, and a “utilitarian” car will sacrifice itself if it avoids large sacrifices at the cost. By 2020, the project will be completed and we will already have such algorithms at our disposal.
      Separately, it is interesting that if Sen and Nussbaum are world-class figures, then the most ordinary, unknown specialists in engineering ethics and artificial intelligence ethics are currently working on algorithmization of the ethics of unmanned vehicles. But in the long run, if the research team manages, everyone will be able to use the results of their work.

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