Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Philosophy for the Few

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Philosophy for the Few

Article excerpt

THE SOURCE: "Philosophy That's Not for the Masses" by James Ladyman, in The Philosopher's Magazine, Second Quarter 2011.

IT'S A COMMON CHARGE THAT philosophers do little of practical value and fail to make their work relevant and accessible to the general public. University of Bristol philosophy professor James Ladyman has had quite enough of this sort of rubbish. "I do not see why all philosophers, or even most, should be interested in communicating their thoughts ... to the world," he writes.

The masses generally want answers to big questions: What is the meaning of life? Does a respect for animal life require me to be a vegetarian? But any answer philosophy could provide has long since been offered by generations of wise men past. Today's philosophers immerse themselves in fields such as physics and computer science that push the outer limits of human knowledge. There they can do the work of the gadflies Socrates exalted, applying their philosophical tools to expose flaws in scientists' epistemology and methodology. But in order to do so, philosophers must master these obscure, technical fields, and it is this specialization that makes their work so unintelligible to the layperson. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.