In the Problem Field of Public Philosophy

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This article focuses on public philosophy, the main approaches to interpreting it, current ways for philosophy to reach the public, and obstacles to this. A major hindrance is that philosophy is an area of professional expertise. This circumstance has both conduced to the development of a large close-knit academic community and enfeebled its already weak communication ties with society and other fields of scientific knowledge. It is argued that, on the one hand, publicness has been immanent in philosophy from the very beginning, and, on the other, philosophy needs a public ‘upgrade’ and a new experience of a constructive dialogue with society. This new publicness of philosophy may be the way to ‘recovery’ it. It is also shown that tendency towards greater publicness, which is distinctive of modern academic sciences, is a response to the new economic situation. Sciences are becoming engaged in an info-struggle for the attention of the state and society. This is affecting philosophy as well, although the value and importance of philosophical knowledge have been traditionally recognised and emphasised in culture and by the education system. It is stressed that the idea of ‘recovering’ philosophy is closely linked to what function the philosopher has in the life of society. The contribution considers various possible ‘types’ of public philosophers. It is concluded that, contrary to the common belief, society needs not an expert philosopher or a mediator in the field of science but a ‘professional consultant’ capable of ‘calibrating’ the thinking routines of people and helping them adopt a rational attitude towards themselves, that is, acquire an ability to think critically, form a conscious judgement of their life, and take responsibility for their decisions.

About the authors

Natalya Yu. Kozlova

Moscow Pedagogical State University

Author for correspondence.
PhD in Philosophy 1/1, M. Pirogovskaya Str., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation


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