Engaged Philosophy on the Rise: Socratic Dialogue Anyone?
Imagine celebrating National Philosophy Month in the U.S.! A Dutch philosopher recently spent several days sitting in a tub and having deep conversations with passerbys in order to recreate the life of the Cynic Diogenes and give honor to the calling of philosophy. This article by Mark Vernon, in the Financial Times of London, talks about the urgent need for philosophy in the public sphere today.
I agree with Vernon that the practice of philosophy has become overly professionalized. He makes a questionable distinction, however, when he says that the fault lies mostly with those involved in doing "analytic philosophy". First, these distinctions between analytic and continental philosophy are suspicious and are notorious for being placeholder for ego trips and terroritory markers in academic departments. But even so called analytic philosophy does not have a monopoly on obscure and technical writing that is impenetrable to people who have not spent 5-8 years in graduate study--Being and Time is not light, summer reading by the pool!
A professor of mine in graduate school said there is a difference between philosophers and teachers of philosophy. This suggests a difference between philosophy as a way of life, a practice (in Alasdair MacIntyre's sense), and philosophy as a set of techniques or prepackaged content (a canon?)
When we talk about the need for engaging philosophy with the contemporary world, what is it that we seek to bring out? What contribution does philosophy have to the "real world"?
Labels: engaged philosophy