Philosophy in 2015

Dr. Leigh M. Johnson’s “Morbidity and Mortality Report” on the travails of Philosophy as a profession in 2014 has started me thinking about my own relationship with the field in which I was trained.

I have often been pleased to point out that I have not worked in a philosophy department since 1998, following instead a career in interdisciplinary programs leading to my current position in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech.

I generally say this with a kind of satisfaction, even relief: I have made good my escape from a profession prone to taking itself and its own academic stuffiness far too seriously; I am instead aiming to do work, as a writer and a teacher, that will be of use to people trying to make responsible decisions in difficult circumstances.

I have very pointedly identified myself as a practical ethicist, not as a philosopher.

I now wonder if that was a mistake.

I wonder whether I should take the time to re-establish ties to the field more widely, not in order to remake myself (again) in the image of philosophy as it is now, but to join with others who are working to remake the profession, to recapture the vitality and public engagement philosophy might once have had.

This may be a new project for 2015.

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