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Journalism Versus Philosophy -- How Philosophers Can Surpass other Media Creators

Updated: Feb 22

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Humanity has two methods for obtaining truth (or what is assumed to be the truth): rationality and evidence. Without these two values, the truth cannot be obtained, or at least can only be discovered partially.

In recent times, the human mind is no longer seen as a prime tool for truth-seeking. Instead, philosophy has been cast aside in favor of two other "sub-methods" of evidence: science and journalism.

People no longer believe that sitting alone with your thoughts is a good way to find truths about the world. Instead, they turn to researchers and journalists, who look outwards to whatever subject they are covering. If fields such as philosophy continue to be cast aside and their contributions overlooked, independent thinking may become more difficult, and that thinking may instead be dependent on external agents such as journalists, scientists, and other researchers.

Should we avoid independent thinking in the name of external stimulation, we can also reduce our own critical thinking skills, which are necessary to understand and examine information.

Accepting information as it is is dangerous in a sense that it can decieve us while thinking we see reality as it is. Accepting information as credible and on-point with reality should only be the conclusion of a greater cognitive process. A process that includes fact-checking, for example, and seeking sources that may oppose that information due to their own reasoning.

Serious philosophers would abstain from just seeing information and accepting it as valid. When it comes to intellect they are supposed to be the cream of the crop, per se. It is therefore a job suited for them to analyze information that is presented as fact and question its validity and rationality. All in the name of truth.

It is incorrect to regard philosophy as solely "the love of wisdom". We need to distinguish between what it literally means and what it refers to. It means that people don't necessarily philosophize because they feel affection or admiration to the concept of wisdom. No, that's not necessary. They do it because they want to become wiser, with "wisdom" referring to a more-refined understanding and application of reality. Philosophical inquiry is done in the name of aquiring wisdom, not in the name of "loving" or "expressing love" to it. "Love" is not necessary here, but rather the desire and dedication to be wiser than before.

(And to be wiser, we must not regard false notions as true, nor act upon them while seeing them as such. The philosopher has no reason to decieve themselves, as that would be self-contradictory. Why pursue the truth, just to decieve yourself, when you can do just that, and not be decieved?)

As such, while the journalist is mainly an investigator and a gatherer of information, he or she may not have the intellectual merit or integrity to prioritize the truth in favor of bias or in favor of getting the next paycheck. They might even feed you with fake news using malicious manipulation of your emotional biases.

Philosophers, you could say, are the frontier of autonomous thought. It is very difficult for a good philosopher to be satisfied with whatever is presented to them, and they will not necessarily be content with their own feelings of contentment (you can call this meta-emotion, as parallel to meta-cognition). They will ask and they will doubt until true satisfaction is reached; satisfaction accepted both by instinct and mind.

However, this inquisition can be problematic for researchers such as journalists. After all, they have a deadline to meet, competition from rival news outlets, and perhaps other tasks, such as writing the next project in their job. In addition, if a news outlet may have a specific agenda that isn't about covering the truth, they may appeal to the concept of post-truth in order to gain and retain its readership/audience. Or in other words -- appeal to their emotions rather than their desire and belief to understand reality better.

You can call that a form of scam, unless of course you're giving your audience what they want to hear from you, and then there is the simple case of supply and demand. That is even though your audience is unconciously biased towards falsehood. But, why would you tell them that if you wish to capitalize off your own, untold, intellectual dishonesty?

These incentives can hinder a journalist's endeavors as truth-seekers; incentives that philosophers do not necessarily have. After all, you do not have to "work" as a philosopher in order to be one; you do not even have to be driven by money in order to do a good job in it. Maybe you have another job, maybe you're unemployed; people do not philosophize, usually, to get the next paycheck. For that matter, in 2023, it isn't profitable to use a philosophy degree for jobs in the U.S.

This is why it should be obvious that not all news outlets present correct information, or even try to do so at all. Theoretically, most if not all forms of propaganda are, by default, so biased that they might either twist or ignore important truths just to promote a person, an organization, a policy, and so on. Journalism is, all and all, a business industry first and a truth-seeking method later. That could also be true to any other researchers that have certain agendas they do not want to hurt.

By the way, entertain the fact that there are 6 massive media empires that own almost all media companies on this planet. They are known as the Big 6.

On the other hand, philosophers are not loyal to money (usually) or to a certain allegiance, other than the truth. What separates philosophy from religion is the fact that in philosophy it's good to doubt your beliefs and replace them in the name of advancing towards the truth. A true philosopher should not be biased to a certain ideology, because then they become "religious" preachers of said ideology, and will be less willing to open up to the possible fact that they are wrong.

The notion of being wrong in philosophy, therefore, should be a welcomed one, because in order to reach wisdom, one usually must commit some mistakes, recognize them, and move onwards.

There is no higher authority, such as a boss or a censorship body, to "fix" or alter your work in the favor of a larger organization. You have either yourself, an audience, perhaps other people to discuss your work with -- and the most important thing of all -- the work-tool that is your mind.

Manage to be independent of an academic organization, and you can be even less censored when doing your work.

I'd therefore like to propose the encouragement of philosophers opening up media outlets like Philosocom in order to independently observe and criticize the huge media empires that create and distribute content to the world, in the name of assisting the public to get closer to the truth, and remain in-touch with reality.

The brain is, arguably, the philosopher's most important organ in their line of work. They do necessarily have, like the journalist, to get outside and interview a few people, or even travel abroad. All they have is their general knowledge, their critical thinking skills, and their ability to formulate new ideas in the name of better understanding the world around us.

These three things are all that is required to be a philosopher, once they are used regularly and communicated through speech, writing, or other form of recorded communication.

The value of the mind as an information processor and generator, is underrated. Of course, external sources have their own place, because we do not live and operate in a vacuum. However, in philosophy, the evidence is a tool used for confirmation, and not the aim. If that functionality was reversed, then philosophers would have needed to become journalists instead. Some people therefore fail to understand the fact that the human mind is also a tool for truth-seeking, and yes, even research.

Finally, there should be a distinct distinction between philosophy as an ideology and philosophy as a method of truth-obtaining. To have a philosophy does not make you a philosopher because it's not something you necessarily work with to understand existence. If you see your current viewpoints on life as satisfactory enough and do not wish to expand or question them, then you are not a philosopher. Philosophy is based on not being satisfied with what you know or assume you know. That is the reasoning based on Socrates' search for the truth.

To be a philosopher, after all, is to seek. They are called philosophers because he or she who loves wisdom, seeks it. By itself, there is nothing dishonest about it, if the philosopher is truly interested in it.

If I did not love or even liked a product, I wouldn't want it at all would I?. That is the same in philosophy -- you don't necessarily have wisdom yet, but you surely wish to obtain it. You don't necessarily do it for revenue or any other hidden agenda. And you surely don't have to manipulate your audience for that matter, now, do you?

The core difference between the two occupations, therefore, is that the journalist might not necessarily have the truth in their top priority, while a true philosopher does. This gives, or should give them an edge in the content-creation industrial complex.

And to consider philosophy irrelevant is like saying that the truth is irrelevant.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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