Writing at the dawn of modernity, just before classical liberalism took hold, Machiavelli and Thomas More offered different roles for the philosopher. Machiavelli’s realpolitik embraced the chance to whisper in the King’s ear, plying his skills to make power more effective. In contrast, Raphael (the main character in More’s Utopia) shunned the role of advisor, […]

Being useful doesn’t come easy for philosophers. Some reasons for this are perennial – the chief one being that the philosopher is liable to question the value and meaning of utility. Perhaps a little perversely, she might even argue that such questioning can, in fact, be rather useful. After all, we want things to be […]

Mark Bauerlein and colleagues (2010) argue that the publish-or-perish arms race of knowledge production increases costs, fosters poor-quality work, and distracts faculty from teaching. They ask, rhetorically, do we really need the 16,772nd article on Shakespeare? Geoffrey Harpham (2011) thinks that, yes, in fact we do. As our times change we bring new eyes to […]

Why is peer-reviewed scholarship the sole standard for judging philosophic work, rather than also considering the impacts that such work has on the larger world? And why are there only two social roles for those with PhDs in philosophy – to teach undergraduates, and to talk to other PhDs in philosophy? In an interview that […]

The philosophy department has been seen as a neutral space from which thought germinates, not itself an object for reflection. And so one finds no explorations of the effects that disciplining might have had on philosophical theorizing, or of where else philosophers could be housed, or of how philosophers, by being located elsewhere, might have […]

The institutional trappings of disciplinarity have built a wall between thought and its social context. Even when their subject matter consists of something of real significance to the wider world, philosophers discuss the topic in a way that precludes the active interest of and involvement by non-philosophers. Philosophers may have had much to say to […]

If the relationship between philosophy and the polis has always been fraught, and perhaps laced with a bit of subterfuge, it has also been in the end a workable one. Until the 20th century. Since then the tension has grown into a paradox, the gap into a chasm. Socrates Tenured offers an account of the […]