Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, the digital wing of the journal Social Epistemology, has featured an exchange of short articles in the wake of “When Philosophy Lost Its Way” by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle (both of University of North Texas), an article we previously discussed a couple of times. The exchange is between Luke Maring (Northern Arizona) and Frodeman and Briggle.
It begins with Maring’s “Abandoning the Academy is the Single Worst Thing Philosophers Could Do,” and continues with a reply from Frodeman and Briggle, with further remarks here and here.
Maring makes a number of good points, including:
First…. most of us spend most of our professional lives working with students who will become lawyers, business owners, accountants, or engineers. Our students become the very public we allegedly fail to reach. So if we want to make a bigger public impact, we should try to make philosophy a bigger part of college curriculums. We should try to make undergraduate education more affordable. We should bring philosophy to more students by creating interdisciplinary programs with a substantial philosophical core. Colleges and universities are probably the most effective delivery mechanism for philosophy in history…
Second, we do not need to abandon the academy to achieve Frodeman and Briggle’s aims. There is within the academy a growing commitment to writing for non-philosophers…
Third, the thought that every (or even most) philosophical articles or books should directly impact the public misunderstands the nature of academic research. It is rare, in any academic field, for the individual researcher to make a huge public impact. But that does not mean our small individual efforts are pointless: we create the milieu that makes really impactful work possible.