The NYT: A New Name For Philosophy? Branding Wont Solve The Problem. Propertarianism Might.

via Philosophy by Another Name –

I would like to launch the Campaign for Renaming Philosophy (C.R.P.) — or perhaps more accurately, the Campaign for Renaming Academic Philosophy (which has a less attractive abbreviation). I suggest meeting with other philosophers informally to discuss the question and forming small groups of people dedicated to the cause. If you are on board, start using the new terminology among yourselves, just to get accustomed to it. It might then be brought up in a department meeting, and a vote taken as to the merits of the case.

Leif Parsons

It won’t be easy to change our name. We have more than 2000 years of linguistic usage bearing down on us. There will be resistance. But keep in mind that scientists changed their “philosophy” name too, no doubt against entrenched opposition; even today the heads of some physics departments are still described as chairs of “natural philosophy.” But that was a necessary and sound decision.

Perhaps in 100 years’ time the process will be complete and our universities will all have a “department of ontics.” Don’t you want to be part of this historical movement? I believe that once the matter is seen clearly the eventual renaming will be well nigh inevitable.

Are the humanities a set of tools for the analysis and perpetuation of norms? I think so. Answering that question will provide an answer to the future of philosophy.

The problem the discipline faces is that it has failed to produce an internally consistent framework for the discussion of norms for the post agrarian era.

The economists have failed, the political philosophers have failed. Philosophers m@sturb@ted for more than half a century on the metaphysical and linguistic programs. Incorporating the clarity of the sciences, and sometimes the data, but clinging with every fiber of their conscious minds, to the concept of community inherent in christian and jewish theology.

Humanity needs a series of norms that are a solution to modernity. It needs institutions that they can understand as assisting the the production of those norms. THey need a way of rationalizing those norms so that they can act. But philosophy is at its heart, mystical and antique.

And humanity has suffered for it.

And I suspect, as someone who tries to solve this problem myself, that it is because the antique norms within us — the very civic virtues that made philosophy exist as a discipline, — must be deconstructed and replaced with something new.

Rorty and his like use the word ‘post-philosophy’. But I don’t think the name matters. Either the field solves a material problem, and it incorporates the physical sciences, and adopts a teleological framework that allows it to fully abandon its agrarian normative past, or it will continue to be irrelevant.

And the norms that exist within the humanities, unless they are given a framework for the new era, are just as irrelevant. The western humanities are appeals for power by the middle class. Now that they have power, what will they do with it? There are no answers in that tradition.

We need something new.

Of course, I think it’s Propertarianism. But then, I’m shooting in the dark like everyone else.

2 responses to “The NYT: A New Name For Philosophy? Branding Wont Solve The Problem. Propertarianism Might.”

  1. The problem is that the norms promoted prestigious humanities departments are unpalatable un couched in euphemism and shielded by status affirming structures.

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