What Philosophy Can Do, by Gary Gutting

Is there a place for philosophy in our 21st century American culture? What does philosophy have to offer? Can a philosophical approach to the issues of our day actually be beneficial? Would congress be better served if our politicians consulted philosophers before debating potentially divisive legislation? Would our young people be better prepared to be the leaders of tomorrow if they were philosophically astute?

Professor Gutting presents a philosophical approach to various issues that currently divide our country. From climate change to abortion, atheism to capitalism, Gutting carefully explains the valuable practical role that philosophy could play, if permitted. Something has to change. Washington is gridlocked. Families are divided. In fact, our whole country is suffering from destructive divisiveness. Our strength is in unity, not a unity through the impossibility of uniformity, but a unity in charitable diversity. Philosophy is an instrument to that end.

Though written for the public, ‘What Philosophy Can Do‘ still has an academic air to it. Some chapters would be more easily grasped if step-by-step explanations were given. The author sometimes assumes his presentation is clearer than it really is for the average reader without any background in philosophy. A little more ‘hand-holding’ through novel notions would be useful.

Overall, though, this volume offers a much needed perspective for those who honestly grapple with the difficult subjects of our age. This is a book that most folks should read and then re-read and seriously think about.

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