The Utility of the Humanities in the 21st Century | Literature, the Humanities, & the World

As machines creep ever further into work that requires thinking and judgment, human creativity, interpretation, emotions, and reasoning will become increasingly important. STEM may just lead to its own obsoleteness, and in doing so increases the value of professionals trained in the humanities.

Source: The Utility of the Humanities in the 21st Century | Literature, the Humanities, & the World

Robert Frodeman, The Impact Agenda and the Search for the Good Life

This article is published as part of collection on the future of research assessment.

Plato and Aristotle are plumbed for insights concerning the underlying assumptions of the impact agenda, and more generally for how philosophy can offer greater assistance on policy questions. Aristotle reveals the limitations of ‘impact’ as a way of framing discussions about the relevance of academic knowledge. Plato offers more general counsel on the challenges facing philosophers who seek to be relevant to the concerns of policymakers. Together, their work suggests that policy-sensitive philosophers can help decision makers be more self-conscious about the assumptions underlying their work.

Read The Impact Agenda and the Search for the Good Life

Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

In Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy, Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle offer a diagnosis and remedy for the malaise currently gripping the study of philosophy, advocatin…

Source: Book Review: Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st-Century Philosophy by Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle

Hegel and Trump: Podcast

For Americans feeling anxiety over the election of Donald Trump, some wise perspective from the German philosopher  via Firmin DeBrabander, associate professor of philosophy at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Hegel, he says, believed that progress does not happen without crisis and conflict, that “happy periods are blank pages in history.” When there is peace, people become complacent about their freedom and their rights, and that sets the stage for a setback, after which people double-down again on their freedom and rights, and become more vigilant. Trump, says DeBrabander, challenges the left to fight harder and be smarter, and that’s a “golden opportunity” for progressivism.

Listen to the podcast here.

The Gadfly and the Spider: Six Types of Philosophy

The Nation ran a review of Justin E.H. Smith’s book The Philosopher: A History in Six Types.

Our work gets a mention: “ Is academic philosophy in danger of withdrawing ever further into itself? Or is philosophy, in daily practice and in the academy, at a high point—accessible to more people than ever, and spilling over its disciplinary boundaries? The answer to this question, it seems, has a great deal to do with how you think about the role of philosophy historically. “The Stone” recently featured an exchange tackling this problem (too recent to be included in the Reader). In January, Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle, authors of the forthcoming Socrates Tenured, described philosophy as being quarantined, having split off from the larger society through the process of modernization; the pursuit of wisdom was “purified,” they argue, and with the rise of modern science, “knowledge and goodness were divorced.” Frodeman and Briggle are opposed to specialization and the ways in which philosophy “aped the sciences by fostering a culture that might be called ‘the genius contest.’” Their argument is in keeping with a common account of philosophy, among the other humanities, as a victim of modern science and the Enlightenment, always in defense of its existence. Smith is in this camp as well: His essay in The Stone Reader is about philosophy’s Western bias, which he locates in the connection between its elitism and its identification with modern science. ”

Read more here.

Are we really so modern?

“One of Gottlieb’s central insights is that, as he wrote in his previous volume, “The Dream of Reason,” which covered thought from the Greeks to the Renaissance, “the history of philosophy is more the history of a sharply inquisitive cast of mind than the history of a sharply defined discipline.” You might say that philosophy is what we call thought in its first, molten state, before it has had a chance to solidify into a scientific discipline, like psychology or cosmology. When scientists ask how people think or how the universe was created, they are addressing the same questions posed by philosophy hundreds or even thousands of years earlier. This is why, Gottlieb observes, people complain that philosophy never seems to be making progress: “Any corner of it that comes generally to be regarded as useful soon ceases to be called philosophy.””

Read more here.