Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where has philosophy gone?

20100219I’m having a bit of a philosophical week.

‘not the sort of week where I wax philosophical, watching the rain fall while sipping tea, or one where I philosophically accept life’s torments.

No, I’m in a mood to read some philosophy.

I started back in graduate school, picking up Durant’s Story of Philosophy, liking the way that philosophers questioned life’s basic assumptions and tackled hard human questions about truth, beauty, the conscious mind, an ethical life.

Lately, I’ve haunted college bookstores looking for fresh works that addressing questions of our time, but have, surprisingly, come up empty.  There’s no lack of classical philosophy, but nothing new.

In search of a school or a movement, I scanned through the course offerings of philosophy departments.  Journals. Conferences?  TED Talks?

Nothing.

There’s a suggestion that the post-modernist movement has taken the mantle, but its tenants (there are no new ideas to be invented; today's ideas really just borrowed from previous times) only reinforces my fear that philosophy is dead.

I don’t think that philosophy has gone away or become irrelevant.  But where has it gone?

Comic original to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

2 comments:

Textual Healer said...

Aristotle "to do is to be"
Sartre "to be is to do"
Sinatra "do be do be do"

And I won't mention Monty Python's philosopher's song :-)
But these days no-one seems interested in truth - just in making a quick buck (or have I grown jaded?).

Dave Hampton said...

Perhaps you've grown jaded, but we can also blame the winter (and the breakdown of the Climate Summit?)

I had dinner with a friend the other night who tackled this all head-on and gave me some good ideas for things to read. Waiting for Amazon to deliver and to have my mind stretched after the winter hibernation.