Big Idea People

by Peter Saint-Andre


When we think of philosophy, we tend to think of theoretical philosophy: cloistered academics, armchair thinkers, and dreamy contemplatives arguing over the fine points of abstruse topics that have little if any practical import. This reputation is, unfortunately, well-deserved, especially in recent times. Yet if we accept the validity of philosophy as a way of life, then these "big idea people" fall short of the ideal. There's a significant difference between the love of ideas for their own sake and the love of wisdom for the sake of livng well. I'm not saying you can't combine the two, but the second is more valuable than the first because it is the foundation not just for intellectual fascination but for human flourishing. I discussed related matters in a talk I gave at the University of Colorado a few years ago, entitled "You're Majoring in What?!? Why Philosophy is a Foundation for Success"...

(Cross-posted at


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