Philosophy and the Social Problem

Philosophy and the Social Problem

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Philosophy and the Social Problem

Philosophy and the Social Problem

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Excerpt

The purpose of this essay is to show: first, that the social problem has been the basic concern of many of the greater philosophers; second, that an approach to the social problem through philosophy is the first condition of even a moderately successful treatment of this problem; and third, that an approach to philosophy through the social problem is indispensable to the revitalization of philosophy.

By "philosophy" we shall understand a study of experience as a whole, or of a portion of experience in relation to the whole.

By the "social problem" we shall understand, simply and very broadly, the problem of reducing human misery by modifying social institutions. It is a problem that, ever reshaping itself, eludes sharper definition; for misery is related to desire, and desire is personal and in perpetual flux: each of us sees the problem unsteadily in terms of his own changing aspirations. It is an un-

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