Invitation to a beheading: The career of philosophy

Philosophia 28 (1-4):39-66 (2001)
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Abstract

Registrants for the academic study of philosophy, expecting an encounter with special cognitive products, regal truths, are soon enough disabused. Philosophy, its supposedly special access to the structure of things exploded, is relegated to sundry tasks of intellectual hygiene. I track down the source of the unrealistic view, anatomising what has a strong claim to be regarded as the regal enterprise’s inau¬gural reasoning—in Plato. When professionals consider the successor activity that is called ‘philosophy,’ they should therefore wonder about the label. The deposition of she who was once known as Queen of the Sciences is, I argue, really the end of philosophy. Does the prevail¬ing professional attitude attest to mere nostalgia? In fact, the view of philo¬sophy as (say) conceptual enquiry inherits some of the fantasy. To the extent that continued use of the label is internally justified, that signals a deeper mistake on the part of the users about the truth.

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Mark Glouberman
Kwantlen Polytechnic University

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