The Philosophy of Retirement
Sunday, January 7, 2018

What is it

Many of us look forward to retirement, that time in life when we stop working for a living. But what exactly is retirement and why do we retire? Does retirement always mean an end to work, or can it sometimes just mean a shift to a different kind of work? Ought we retire for purely selfish reasons, such as to give ourselves more leisure time? Or ought we retire for the public good, to give younger people greater opportunities for employment? In an age when people are living longer and technology is displacing more and more workers, how should our attitudes about retirement change? The Philosophers coax John Perry out of radio retirement to ask about all the work he's been getting done since stepping away from the mic.

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Comments (2)


Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Saturday, October 21, 2017 -- 12:03 PM

I remarked earlier that work

I remarked earlier that work was that which we do when we would rather be doing something else. I've been retired since September, 2008. It has not always been fun---but, it has all ways been interesting. And the things I do now are, in the main, things I'd rather be doing. Except for mowing grass and raking leaves...

decker walker's picture

decker walker

Sunday, November 12, 2017 -- 12:28 PM

Second chances

Most of us, in or after college, give up activities we love and neglect skills we worked hard to develop in order to concentrate on a 'career' that will be the major 'work' of our lives. We 'voluntarily' renounced sides of ourselves that once were important in order to concentrate on the facets of ourselves that were needed in our career. Retirement can be a time when we return to paths not taken and recover those facets of ourselves that we sacrificed early in life. In retirement we are free to return and explore the writing, music, acting, art, mathematics, woodworking, puppetry, or ... that we gave up to became lawyers, bankers, executives, technicians, professors, or .... This time we can do it for love, not money, and with no one to please but ourselves and our audiences. We can be true amateurs and experience the thrills we once felt when doing something we loved..

John Perry, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Stanford University and Host Emeritus of Philosophy Talk

Bonus Content

VIDEO: The Philosophy of Retirement was recorded before a live audience at Stanford. Watch the entire show!

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