Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices

Kelli Barr
  • Denton, TX
  • United States
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Institutional affiliation or employer (if any)
University of North Texas
What is your professional position? (
Graduate Student
Interest in public philosophy? Please be as SPECIFIC AS YOU CAN. Members who answer "yes" or "a lot" will not be approved.
I am currently a graduate student in the Philosophy and Religion Studies department at the University of North Texas. The few years I have spent in the academy have highlighted a striking disconnect between the culture of knowledge production and it subsequent use - it is an overwhelmingly internal system. The value and use of knowledge generated through research and scholarship rarely has a life outside of a particular field of study. My undergraduate experience in the sciences and graduate experience thus far in the humanities has revealed this common thread.

But many academics do not interpret this situation as a problem, and attempts at knowledge application in the world, such as public philosophizing, are often labeled as dilettantism - a watering-down of profound ideas that effectively strips them of value and meaning. I think this forum is a prime opportunity to engage with others who must also negotiate this fine line.

I am inclined to think that public philosophizing can, in a sense, help save philosophy from disciplinization, from the activity of negating its own relevance to the general public. If we are really committed to making the world a better place as philosophers, if we recognize a duty and a capability to do exactly that, then we ought to be reaching out to those outside of the academy.

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At 8:01pm on May 5, 2011, Public Philosophy Network Admin said…

Thanks for joining the Public Philosophy Network (PPN)! We hope that you find ways to make the site helpful and supportive of your work and interests by joining an affinity group or participating in a discussion on one of the forums. If your interests aren’t yet represented, you can also start a group or discussion of your own! As we build up the site, we are counting on our members to help us make it a success. So thanks again for being a part of it, and thanks in advance for your contributions.  We also hope that you’ll join us at our in-person conference to be held Oct. 6-8, 2011 in Washington, DC.  Please note the details on the PPN website.


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