What's the use of philosophy really? Is there any? Philosophy amounts to not much more than futile intellectual exercises for the few academically inclined people. That's all there is to it, isn't it? Forget the high and lofty aspirations of the ancient Greeks and modern philosophers trying to get to the essence of life, figuring out the reason and objective of our existence here, answers that would illuminate the hidden mysteries of life. In the end, a philosophy degree won't even get you a job now, so what's the point?
You can get your doctorate in philosophy, and end up working in a restaurant. You can be an educated waiter who can chat about deep philosophical issues hoping to get at least a “sympathy tip” from the customer. Or drive people around in a taxi and proclaim the truth, converting one client at the time to the truths of Socrates and Kant while hoping to make ends meet, to have enough for tomorrow’s meal and next month's rent.
It's a shame really. Not that philosophy was ever really well-paid. Philosophers have often been ridiculed, ostracized and trampled upon. As a profession there is the erroneous deep-seated belief that philosophers (even worse than artists and writers) don't contribute anything to society. But is it always necessary to contribute to society in order to be useful and valuable?
The problem is actually much more complex. Fields like philosophy have become the sole domain of academia; they have become too complicated, intricate and specialized for the common man or woman and what he or she does not understand often turns into fear and rejection. It might be one of the main reasons why intellectuals in general do not get the attention and the praise they deserve.
There is, however, a growing branch of philosophy that deals with the more practical aspects of life, called “applied philosophy.” It deals with various situations in our daily life and sheds light on them through the lens and the previously accumulated knowledge of philosophy. However, as in any endeavor in humanities or arts, and unlike science, there are no conclusive results.
Today's society, mostly in North America, is focused on a cost-benefit, pros and cons analysis, namely, the financial and pragmatic advantages of each action. If I spend this many years and that much money to get a degree, I would rather choose something that will get me a good and decent job that pays well. If science and technology or business administration and economics will land me definite high-paying salaries, that would be the “best” choice out there.
Philosophy, humanities, the arts are all seen as fields with no future, with no tangible value. It is not unusual to overlook the spiritual aspects when you are living in a materialistic society. All that cannot be seen, that is not tangible or measurable, that does not give you visual results and outcomes is seen as a waste of time, money, and energy. But at least, you can have a great chat with a philosophically-inclined waiter, and please, don't forget to tip them well!