Philosophy: Now Even More Popular in Germany

Philosophy is so popular in Germany right now, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education (may be behind paywall). How popular is it? So popular that at least one philosophy book may have sold more copies in Germany than the latest album by David Hasselhoff, a fact the author of the Chronicle piece neglects to mention. Perhaps because it is not true. In any event, he does provide some other evidence for philosophy’s popularity in Germany. For example, there have been increased enrollments in philosophy courses:

At Tübingen… the number of students enrolled in philosophy courses has increased by nearly one-third, to 1,600, in the past three years. The philosophy departments at both Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg and Goethe University, in Frankfurt am Main, have had to impose limits on enrollments for the first time ever. 

Additionally, philosophy seems to be making a dent in popular culture:

The boom includes several new magazines, three TV shows, several radio “philosophy cafes,” which are informal roundtables with deep thinkers, and an annual Philosophy Festival. Popular paperbacks, too, aspire to tackle the profound questions of the day by employing the ideas of Plato and Aristotle, Descartes and Spinoza, as well as contemporary practitioners like Judith Butler and Jürgen Habermas.

Philosophie Magazin has a circulation of 9000 (and some interesting marketing strategies). The popular books mentioned include Who Am I?—And If So, How Many? by Richard David Precht, Why The World Does Not Exist by Markus Gabriel (Bonn), and Four Meditations on Happiness by Michael Hampe.

Perhaps readers who live in or have spent some time recently in Germany can give their impressions about philosophy’s popularity there, and also comment on the author’s claim that “some worry that the so-called philosophy boom may put pressure on academics to dumb down the likes of metaphysics and epistemology for a lay audience.”

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