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What philosophy ought to be

Maxwell, N; (2013) What philosophy ought to be. In: Tandy, C, (ed.) Death And Anti-Death, Volume 11: Ten Years After Donald Davidson (1917-2003). (pp. 125-162). Ria University Press: Palo Alto, California, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

The proper task of philosophy is to keep alive awareness of what our most fundamental, important, urgent problems are, what our best attempts are at solving them and, if possible, what needs to be done to improve these attempts. Unfortunately, academic philosophy fails disastrously even to conceive of the task in these terms. It makes no attempt to ensure that universities tackle global problems - global intellectually, and global in the sense of concerning the future of the earth and humanity. Universities do not give sustained attention to global problems (due to specialization and giving priority to the pursuit of knowledge) and as a result violate three of the four most elementary rules of rational problem solving conceivable. Judged from the standpoint of helping humanity tackle global problems, universities as at present constituted betray reason and, as a result, betray humanity. Bereft of institutions of learning rationally designed to help us make progress towards as good and wise a world as possible, not surprisingly we fail to learn how to do it. This is the key crisis of our times. And it is, at root, a failure of philosophy. It is the failure of philosophy to keep alive rational exploration of global problems in universities, and in the public domain - a failure that can be traced back to the origins of modern philosophy in the 17th century. We urgently need a revolution in philosophy so that academic philosophers take up their proper task of promoting rational exploration of our fundamental, global problems.

Type: Book chapter
Title: What philosophy ought to be
ISBN: 1934297186
ISBN-13: 9781934297186
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ria.edu/rup/
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Ria University Press
Keywords: Philosophy, nature of, Fundamental problems, Rationality, Human world in physical universe problem, Failure of philosophy, Natural philosophy, Problem solving, Global problems
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1400215
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