Academic philosophy primarily discusses - with no end in sight - philosophers who obviously did not know that God exists, while those who do know more about God (like saints, sages and self-realized persons) are not necessarily discussed. Materialism has not forgotten to drop by the philosophical departments, and the fact is that degrees are handed out based on anything other than "direct" knowledge. Some of the great philosophers of the past, had they lived today, might even find themselves completely ignored without having title, stature, prestige and power. All of this has led to the rather strange occurrence: Professors of Philosophy who claim to be able to provide convincing proof that God does not exist!
If this were in fact true, then there would be no more need for philosophy as such. We could simply conclude that God does not exist and forget about any further discussion. However, this type of philosophy is a perversion of philosophy's real goals. We should also add that the arguments of the atheists have always lost in any fair point system (see Does God Exist?, or for a different approach, "Awareness - The Center of Being").
Another disadvantage is that academic philosophers cannot resist the urge to turn one sentence into sixty and to comb their manuscripts for all simple words and replace them with their choices out of the thickest thesaurus. Since philosophy is meant to advance understanding and to explain, wouldn't it be advantageous to bring everything down to its most simple level? This way more people can benefit and one can better see how deep the understanding of the philosopher reaches.
Having said all of the above, the advantages of academic philosophy are quite obvious: We have a systematic collection of all the great thoughts and thinkers with arguments for and against any particular view.
Link suggestions for further reading:
· Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
· Arthur M. Young - Philosopher and author of "The Reflexive Universe" and "The Geometry of Meaning".
In The Reflexive Universe, Arthur Young integrates scientific laws with the evolution of consciousness. The Geometry of Meaning is an essay in philosophy encompassing the natural sciences and dealing with the relationship of the knower and the known.
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