Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices

Has anyone here read it?

 

I blogged about it here. There's also an extended discussion of it on Brian Leiter's blog.

 

One of Kitcher's responses to comments on the Leiter Reports, he references William James in a way that strikes me as particularly relevant to public philosophy:

In one of the most famous passages in *Pragmatism*, James asks what differences answers to philosophical questions will make to "someone, somewhere and somewhen". (Note: James isn't proposing any theory of meaning here; he's concerned with the importance of questions, specifically philosophical questions.) As you pursue a philosophical project, you might ask: What difference can this project be expected to make? To whom? What type of difference? Is it a difference worth making?
I would add another -- probably not the last -- question to the list of those we public philosophers might ask: how are we going to make a difference? My first suggestion would be to do as Kitcher suggests and turn philosophy inside out!

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I think that Kitcher is right that we should ask ourselves what the value of our research is and that we should be more open to work that is presently considered peripheral. I think that he is completely wrong in suggesting that less attention needs to be paid to metaphysics and epistemology. These deal with questions that are fundamental to our lives. We need more metaphysics and epistemology. We just need to take it public.

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