What is the role of the philosopher today?

From Johnny Stork on Google +

What is The Role of a Philosopher Today?

“It is interesting to note that some fishes find it easier to swim against the current. A trout, for example, is known to use the turbulence in the water and bounce off the eddies to propel itself forward. Salmon and tuna, on the other hand, prefer to go with the flow. There are others like pufferfish, which avoid the rough waters altogether and limit themselves to serene and sheltered lagoons. The present condition of most professional philosophers resembles those of the pufferfish, at least in the Indian subcontinent. Their activities and interventions take place in their “sheltered lagoons”, mostly limited to the university departments where they teach courses with cryptic jargon like “epistemology” and “metaphysics” in their titles, which continue to remain incomprehensible to those outside the university walls. Yet, there has been no dearth of scorn for their vocation today.”

“There are two reasons for this. The first is that philosophy, as an academic discipline, suffers from carrying an identity that is perceived to have negligible utility for today’s world. The second concerns a specific contemporary sentiment that believes we are all “thinking” beings, and hence philosophers. Any deep conversation has become “philosophical”. The world doesn’t need more philosophers, but scientists, CEOs and development professionals. After all, what pressing problem is the philosopher solving?”


Author: landzek

My name is Lance Kair, a philosopher, a counselor and a musician who is being questioned.

6 thoughts on “What is the role of the philosopher today?”

  1. The role of the philosopher is, as it always has been, to describe the fundamental nature of reality as clearly as possible to ascertain the truth and therefore help the rest of humanity live the good life. Most philosophers, at this point in history, seem more interested in being political ideological cheerleaders with an intensity to obscufate whatever topic they decide to write on. Hence why I, in particular, have over 20 essays for newspapers and magazines – more basic language that is easily digestible. It’s quite dreadful and off putting to read 800 pages of incomprehensible postmodern deconstructionist philosophy that can be summarized in a single sentence. Take Deleuze for example. Sum him up accurately. And simply. Still with the deep implications of his work: Art is an act of resistance against the unjust structural system of life. God take pity on the poor soul who actually has to try to read him without basic guidance to help him.

    The academic articles, on the other hand, are for the philosophers, and perhaps my CV. 😛

  2. You said (and yes, I realize at the end you agreed, so I’m not “arguing”): “I think one of the problems of just letting everyone spell out whatever thoughts and ideas they have, as though they are all true and all reflect the person’s opinion’s and stuff like that, is that it’s utterly postmodern.”

    I never said “as though they are all true.” But the ideas will sort themselves out, because the Truth (capital “t”), whatever that is, will sort those ideas out into facts … as it always has for thousands of years.

    It’s almost as if we have become neurotic to the exposure to different points of view. Sure, it might take decades (even centuries) to get as close to Truth as possible on whatever is being discussed. Postmodernism is wrong, there is a Truth, there are truths (small “t”), and reliable, repeatable facts substantiate those truths in pursuit of Truth (which for most things, I think we cannot know).

    Postmodernism is both lazy and destructive thinking, stopping short of whatever facts and truths we CAN know (maybe because Postmodernists don’t want to know the truth?).

    To me, philosophy should not be reduced to a paid profession … it’s the most human pursuit of knowledge possible, and free for everyone to pursue equally.

    If your ideas are silly, they will get refuted, and you have to work on those ideas. But that makes us better humans, not worse. The flip side of that, is when ideas are concentrated into the hands of an incentivized “few.” This “few” is academia, and they have no more right to dictating the direction of that knowledge than the typical 9 – 5 layperson who chose a different profession.

    The knowledge (or truth) itself isn’t some oppressive hierarchy (as POMOs seem to claim), but the “few” people in academia as professional philosophers don’t control knowledge either.

    Truth, and the pursuit of it, knows no hierarchy … unless we let it.

    1. I have said elsewhere that it appears that the academy, at at least a generalization of PoMo, create the argument about power (Marxism usually) becasue they are the ones who are ironically asserting the power of thier discourse. It ready does appear to me that they do not see how they displace theori theory to argue themselves into the authroitairan position of power. lol

    2. I meant post modern in the sense of ‘multiple voices”. The irony that the academic notice would be toward that which is theoretically its opposite. Identifying that which it is not.

  3. The disease of philosophy is too much influence from the stodgy and stubborn institution of academia. The activities of philosophy need to return to the public square. The good news is, that seems to be happening with long-form discussions on Rubin Report and Joe Rogan’s Podcast.

    Also, the idea of “philosophy as a way of life” needs to return to culture.

    So, the “role of the philosopher” is already embedded in our everyday lives. We just need to focus on the expression of that embedded role in the wider public sphere.

    1. I think one of the problems of just letting everyone spell out whatever thoughts and ideas they have, as though they are all true and all reflect the person’s opinion’s and stuff like that, is that it’s utterly postmodern.

      And I mean personally I’m kind of against the hay let’s all sit around the fire and sing coomb bye yeah because were so happy and glad to be alive and can commune with nature kind of philosophy. Lol. I mean that’s cool and of course I like to do that with friends and talk about stuff and consider things and stuff like that.

      But when I think philosophy I think about what is actually happening. And so I think yeah we should get back out of the stodgy academic method of just referring to other authors without really understanding what they say and then offering our own little piece because we have to produce more papers because that’s our job. And then everyone else who is not employed as a philosopher looks of those papers if those people are talking about something significant, when most of the time most of the papers are just spewing out capitalistic products of nonsense for the sole purpose of making their house payment. Lol. But at the same time I firmly believe that just because you’re living human being you have something to say about what is actually happening. Many people considered educated, or they might consider themselves educated, for example that guy Peterson or whatever with the PhD in the whatever the hell; he’s gotten a semi notoriety lately. He just plain doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But sure the fact that he sitting there talking about some things that are called philosophy is fine and it definitely adds information or data or something like that into what is actually occurring, but I think his ideas about what is actually occurring as if they are actually true don’t really contribute very much.

      So yeah there’s a hazy line in here somewhere.

      But then also I think that’s just a natural motion we consolidate we come to definite meetings, people critique those meetings and refute them, We withdraw and kind of let it all dissolve and let people say whatever the hell they want, and then we retract and contract and then come up with another set of definite truth .

      So maybe it is that time to bring philosophy back to Public Square

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