The Last Intro

We need to organize this last iteration of the full time intro course because it is going to be the basis for my book on Philosophy for Civilians, wehich I intend to complete in a first draft by this date one year from today. 

The fundamental thrust of the book will be to make philosophy, both as content and process, available to a general public. It will re-acquaint those who have taken philosophy in school and offer a first acquaintance for those who never studied the subject. The mode will be 'popular''smart, or pitched to people who enjoy snappy writing and humor but who also like to think.

My competition - and is there for such a subject? - is 'Sophie's World', whose structural cleverness I cannot match, and Alain de Boton's "Consolations of Philosophy", which offers a nice balanced, cooked version, as does Joosten. The "Socrates /Platypus Walked Into a Bar' book I do not know but will soon. 

My approach is to distill forty years of teaching and honing into a written performance - oral to textual. I do not know of this will work but look at Plato,who is my guide here, as odd as that might sound. I would never do a dialogue -- I am not a dialogic guy -- and lack the writing skill. But I can flat out perform and we will see where this gets us.


Structure: I have three lines of hunches that I think need including and this will be the initial juggle and squeak. 

1. 'Splainin'


2. Citying


3. Invisibles : God , Identity, Freedom, Art


#1 has to do with the events in which philosophy might get born, the situations that might provoke its inception.

#2 has to do with the settings, historical and cultural, in which philosophy can develop, and in which questions of the #1 can come up.

#3 has to do with the current content of philosophy, what it most typically deals with and what it leaves aside.


All three themes or strains are highly selective and my treatment is even eccentric and will aggravate many professional philosophers but that is part of my point. Like many another philosopher I think that the practice has gone off-track, partly because it has become a professional descriptor. There is nothing inherently wrong with allowing those who love this activity to get jobs and medical coverage and pension plans in pursuit of it,but once one relocates the power from practice to bureau, once the power resides in the desk/office and its inevitable and necessary web of procedures, things can go awry. I am not an anti-organizational Luddite but am a little suspicious of the 'taming' of philosophy within the current, increasingly corporate university model.

My biases and limitations in this regard will soon emerge more clearly.  

First let's get to the quick and start, perversely, with theme #2.


Reader Comments (1)

I dunno about this ...

December 18, 2010 | Registered CommenterKevin O'Neill

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