Tuesday, September 12, 2006
How You Can Help If You Are a Philosopher
I would hardly presume to tell philosophers how to do their job. However it does seem to me that given the present state of affairs in this country that we can use all the help we can get, and it may be time to at least consider how philosophers could be of some use. To begin with, it seems that philosophers are at least partly responsible for our present condition. In fact I would like to make the claim that the present crisis in America is to a certain extent a failure of philosophy. We live at a time in which post-modernism has become the dominant language of the ruling class. And it is not simply a benevolent elite, but a power-hungry cabal on an apparent arc towards tyranny. This fact ought to raise serious questions about the effectiveness of post-modernism in establishing a cultural standard of discourse. If anything, post-modernism has had a chilling effect on discourse, whose low ebb has been marked simultaneously by the erosion of traditionally democratic institutions, the emergence of rival institutions so remarkably shallow as to invite the spectre of nihlism to the kitchen table, and the rise of a new ruling class with apparently unlimited designs on power. If the task of philosophy is to clarify concepts, dispel errors, and foster the sciences as reservoirs of public knowledge, then post-modernism has certainly failed on all fronts. What is needed are new and more public committments to truth, a robust ethics which challenges the logic of capitalism, and an aesthetics which rejects the wallowing of post-modernism in popular culture. How can philosophers help with this present crisis? They could start by sweeping the floor.
Posted by weazoe at 6:05 PM