Abstracts: World Philosophy Day, 2011
Phog Lounge @ 157 University Avenue West, Windsor, ON
The event will begin @ 7:30, November 17th, 2011
Kayle Bradley: The Specialist’s Sacrifice (Recipient of the Fall 2011 Public Philosophy Prize)
In this paper I will examine patterns in the culture modern academia, using political science as an example, that seem to be moving towards scientific specialization, and away from a more holistic philosophical approach. Today’s culture legitimizes science for its “objectivity;” however, this seems to be leaving these very specific fields without the critical thinking tools provided by philosophical discourse and crippled when facing difficult normative questions. Most academic fields were once under the influence of philosophy, and I want to trace the history of this culture shift away from it, and try to discover what societal influences have affected it. Further I want to see how the shift not only affects the specialized fields, but also how the movement has affected the modern field of philosophy.
Grant Yocom: Public Philosophy: Transcending Disciplinary and Institutional Barriers
In the eyes of the non-specialist, philosophy appears to be a ‘do nothing’ discipline which lacks ‘practicality’. Even in the context of educational institutions philosophers struggle to make a case for the ‘worth’ of the discipline. Philosophy programs are frequently religated to the status of ‘service’ disciplines, rather than considered to be an important form of research. The pressures from this perception have lead professional philosophy scholars to turn away from classical philosophical problems toward fashionable disciplines of cognitive psychology, nuropsychology and AI. While I would argue for the importance of a philosophical aproch to these subjects, contempory trends in the public perception of philosophy have altered both the manner in which philosophy is practiced by professionals and (as I will argue) limited the means available for professional philosophical inquiry. In this short talk I intend to make a case for new forms of public interface with philosophical practice by calling for a still loosely defined form of “pubilc philosophy” which transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries.
Michael Walschots: The Changing Face of Philosophy
In the eyes of philosophers and non-philosophers alike, the discipline of philosophy seems to change dramatically over time, and this is often associated with what are seen as the popular movements within the discipline. Not only this, but philosophy’s role in larger society/culture as well as its nature as a profession seem to be constantly changing. In this paper I wish to discuss how, in these latter two respects specifically, philosophy might further change in the years to come and the role that the people centrally involved in the discipline can play in shaping it. In particular, I wish to discuss the role of the philosopher in wider culture/society. First, I wish to offer some food for thought regarding the obligations of philosophers to engage with the wider public and make their research accessible to the non-philosopher. I also wish to discuss the obligation of philosophers to ‘practice what they preach’. In general, I do not wish to present anything technical, but to talk informally and offer some thoughts that we may all wish to continue to discuss throughout the evening.