The plans for growing and diversifying philosophy can’t be a shotgun approach. We need to find places every year where we can advocate and promote philosophical growth with precision because of our limited resources. We can do this through a robust development and advocacy process along with PR and advertising campaigns. There are lots of ways to grow and diversify philosophy—philosophers just have to make it a priority. If we don’t, we know the outcome will be less access to philosophy for everyone. Most of all it will mean that philosophy remains at primarily elite institutions only available to the most privileged in society. That would be a tragedy for all.
That’s Christopher Pynes (Western Illinois), guest-blogging at Leiter Reports. He suggests that the American Philosophical Association (APA) employ professional lobbyists, engage in more aggressive public relations, and that philosophers reach out to others at their university, especially undergraduate academic advisors in other departments. I agree, and I have said some of the same things myself.
Also, I’m on the APA’s Committee for Public Philosophy, whose Op-Ed Contest gets a mention from Pynes. If you have other ideas you’d like the committee to pursue, feel free to mention them in the comments here, or email them to committee chair Lynne Tirrell (UMass Boston).