16 Nov 2017

The rise of philosophy

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:20 pm on 16 November 2017

When people ask Adriane Rini what she does 'I'm a philosopher' tends to bring the conversation to a halt. To mark World Philosophy Day, the Massey University professor tells us about her field.

Adriane Rini

Adriane Rini Photo: Massey University

A lot of people regard philosophy as abstract and wishy-washy, not knowing it's a fundamental part of human existence, Adriane says.

"When you think about how we have to reason and we have to plan, we are representing the world to ourselves in various ways."

Through reflective questions like 'What do I want to do with my life?' 'Do I get satisfaction from my life?' and 'How can I be good?' all of us are connected to the heart of philosophy, she says.

In a university setting, tools are developed to analyse this human reflection more deeply and closely.

New Zealanders are something like "international superstars" in the field of philosophy, particularly famous for work in logic and ethics, Adriane says.

Around the country, 50 philosophers work in New Zealand universities, 25 percent of whom are women – a high number compared to other countries.

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