Philosophy is irrelevant.
However, why is that a bad thing?
When we learn other subjects and other skills, we learn how to navigate the world. But it is not some reality-in-itself which we learn to work with; that would be far too much for a human to comprehend. We work within a construction, within a social model. We learn how to get a job; not just any job, but the jobs available in a given society, with given aims, run in given ways, for the purpose of making socially-established currency in order to achieve certain other aims, most of which are prescribed by the culture. We learn science and engineering, but not by merely observing the world. We have a framework which works and produces results, and we learn how to utilize that framework to make more experiments and technology.
Relevance has to do with making our way around these frameworks, with learning how to live in the world as it is. But the "world as it is" is a present phenomenon, without determining the "world as it could be". One could say that we should be content with the way things are and live with our feet planted on the earth in the real world. But we live in political systems and use technology that have resulted from people saying "Why can't things be different?"
Philosophy is irrelevant, because it calls into question our schemata of relevance. It is the process of questioning, "But why should we take it that way?" "What other ways could we do this?" "What fundamental principles can we re-examine?" It was common sense that a democracy could never work, and that people should adjust to the given power structures; then the American Revolution happened. Within time, the idea that government ultimately relies on the people became the new common sense. Or take Albert Einstein: he simply asked himself what time really was and what we actually meant when we say that two events were simultaneous. A simple questioning of principles which "everyone knew," an imagined train ride, and there was his theory of relativity.
This opening up of a place for questioning, of re-examining the gap between the "world as it is" and the "world as it could be", is the task of philosophy. And it isn't relevant to going along with the way "things really are." But for the sake of the future and everything we could accomplish, one cannot say that such thought is unimportant.
Read the full post.