Standing on the Border of Academia: Public Philosophy as the Bridge between Thought and Action

This paper seeks to locate “public philosophy” in the overall discipline of academic philosophy. Public philosophy is defined as professional philosophers as engaging philosophically with non-students or professional philosophers; it is one element of a larger “public humanities” movement, at least in the United States. I argue that although public philosophy does have some truth-seeking and civic-educational elements, its primary function is as a form of individual and collective self-exploration. It is a wide-ranging conversation about culture and meaning in life, and a moment of intersection between philosophical theories and their application. I will show that public philosophy is a practice, as Alasdair MacIntyre describes it, and that it may be understood as a modern form of the “quest” as he describes the term After Virtue. In short, public philosophy does not serve only a functional role, but is a good in itself. It is therefore, as much an exercise in metaphysics as it is a project within logic and social and political philosophy

Discussion to the Lecture.