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The Problem with Philosophy Today
March 23, 2017
by William P. Meyers

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Spreading a Philosophy compared to Spreading a Religion

A few weeks ago I came across a sentence in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations:

"A main cause of philosophical disease — an unbalanced diet: one nourishes one's thinking with only one kind of example."
—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 593

I started writing a blog entry on "philosophical disease," and while the effort was interesting, so far it does not meet my minimal publication standards for this blog. The effort did, however, start a complex train of thought.

Part of that is also entangled with starting to read the originator of the American Pragmatist school of philosophy, Charles Peirce [Philosophical Writings of Peirce, edited by Justus Buchler]. Writing mostly the late 1800s, Peirce influenced John Dewey and through him much of American and even global academic philosophy. Peirce himself was a scientist, not a professor of philosophy.

Which led me, though the magic of Amazon recommendations, to a living philosophy professor, Richard J. Bernstein. Who I had never heard of before, but I liked what the Wiki article said about his philosophy. Rather than go on about that, I will proceed to my main point.

Suppose you could actually get an agreement among those who pass for philosophers in our age people with PhD's in philosophy. Suppose this philosophy, if adopted by most people in the world, would greatly improve the world.

I can pretty much guarantee that, under the current system, such a philosophy would not be adopted by very many people. The people who might here of it would be students in college philosophy classes. The most interested and capable students would become the next generation of philosophy professors. Pretty much the same size as the last generation.

To push the world to a good philosophy, or to free it of philosophical disease, philosophers would need a new type of organization. A proselytizing organization. And probably one that had a way to generate income to support its legions of philosopher-teachers. Though a model where the teachers had real, productive jobs, and taught on weekends, could also work.

Modern philosophers, including those in the generally Pragmatist camp, mainly only study religion as an example of misguided thinking. Just because religions perpetuate misguided views of the world, does not mean that their methodologies might not be helpful. Political organizing, or labor organizing, might also provide some guidance to creating a philosophical organization capable of broadcasting what people need to know to make good decisions in life.

Regular readers may know that I call my take on life Natural Liberation Philosophy. It is highly influenced by the environmental sciences and deep ecology. If you think you can do better, "Organize."

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