Is America Philosophical?
May 20, 2012
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asks the Chronicle of Higher Education here. The piece is written by Carlin Romano (Ursinus College). He starts with:
Everyone knows that Americans don’t take philosophy seriously, don’t pay any attention to it, and couldn’t name a contemporary academic philosopher if their passports depended on it.
So, it seems obvious that the answer is, “No. America is not philosophical.” But, Romano warns:
The traditional clichés get it wrong. Examples that run counter to the vision of America the Philosophical prop up the clichés because they imply a musty view of philosophy. They depend too much on activities christened ”philosophy” according to antiquated academic criteria, and pay too little mind to what honest intellectuals recognize as philosophy today.
So, Romano concludes,
Americans have thus not so much “evaded” philosophy, in the provocative phrase of Cornel West, as they’ve sidestepped antiquated conceptions of it. In the post-positivist, post-cold-war, pan-Google era in which we live, America the Philosophical can be seen as a coruscating achievement in the pragmatist project that’s been unfolding for centuries.