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Off topic: Food for thought...
Thread poster: Therrien

Therrien  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:38
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Sep 27, 2008

My cranial hamster made a few skips on its wheel this morning.
A cogwheel or two clicked. A funny thought emerged.

You know, there isn't any graduates anymore who, in the end, "become philosophers".
There is no nametag or job or hat in the society with the word: "Philosopher".
In fact, when you are in college or university, you study philosophy from LONG ago, you know?
Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Lao Tse-tsung, Lucretius, Voltaire, DesCartes, that whole clique.
Universities don't turn out philosophers, they dish out what has been philosophied before.

Old times philosophers would normally have their work recognized post-humously as dissemination of their work would be slow due to the era's litteracy levels and communication medias.

But now, is there such a thing as a modern and alive philosopher in present time?
Has the world run out of things to "philosophicate" about?

Is it just a problem of semantics? Has the definition and meaning just jumped into the field of politics or psychology leaving the word "philosophy" held in its tracks some hundred years ago?



[Edited at 2008-09-27 18:46]

[Edited at 2008-09-27 18:59]

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patyjs  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:38
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And I often wonder... Sep 27, 2008

why nobody (I guess) ever lists "thinking" as an activity/pastime/hobby/whatever. It's always secondary to something else..."I do my best thinking when I'm running/in the shower"...almost as a side effect. Thinking seems to have lost its status.

It's time thinking was given its proper place! We should not be afraid to just think. Whether we do it staring into the night sky, sitting, jogging, walking the dog or in the shower is bye the's the thinking that counts! Thinking for its own sake.

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
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Just take a look... Sep 27, 2008

Just take a look at all the names, many of them well-known,
and here:

and then also look at the following:

Philosophy is (and philosophers are) alive and well!

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Therrien  Identity Verified
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Well! Sep 27, 2008

I stand corrected.

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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
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IMO, there's a bunch of them out there around the world, each one with his/her own style and interests. No need to look for heavy writing... humor may carry a lot of philosophy!

Also, philosophy seems to be impossible to teach. It looks like more of a gift than a science

[Edited at 2008-09-28 02:32]

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Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
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the same as it ever was Sep 28, 2008

I am copyediting two collections for an academic press devoted to the philosophizing of a particular still-living French philosopher. Though his thinking has been taken up and put to practical use by scholars in other disciplines--used as a lens to understand history, aesthetics, politics, etc.--his own writings can be called nothing other than philosophy pure and simple.

There are perhaps a few misperceptions about what philosophy used to be that are at work here:

First, while it is true that most contemporary philosophers are not paid to sit in a dimly lit room and just "think," but instead are university professors--well, there's a strong tie between being a philosopher and being a teacher, ever since Socrates.

Second, every philosopher starts out by learning, understanding, sometimes accepting, and then ultimately reworking or rejecting those who came before. Aristotle studied with Plato, and built upon him. There is nary a Western philosopher since who did not know these two backward and forward and grapple with them in their own way. St. Augustine studied the Platonists, Descartes studied St. Augustine, Kant studied Descartes, Hegel studied Kant, Nietzsche studied Hegel, and so forth.

So the fact that students of philosophy today study Plato and Descartes and Lao-tzu doesn't mean that no new philosophy is being created, or that they are not at the same time studying more recent philosophers such as Foucault or Rorty or Deleuze or Habermas.

Third, the fact that many of today's philosophers seem to straddle the border between philosophy and something else (such as literary studies, or sociology, or history, or linguistics) is also nothing new, as many old-school philosophers similarly wore "two hats" (or more): Aristotle, philosopher and physicist; St. Augustine, philosopher and theologian; Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician; Rousseau, philosopher and novelist, and so on. So while you may look at a scholar like Derrida and associate him more with literary/linguistic studies than as a philosopher, he in fact draws his theories on language and linguistics from a long line of philosophers interested in language as a phenomenon (which takes us, in fact, all the way back to Plato), and nevertheless also thinks some new thoughts about it.

Ok, my hamsters are telling me that Sunday is supposed to be their day of rest.

[Edited at 2008-09-28 15:12]

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