I’m adding this to my list of blogs to check out: Joseph Orosco’s blog, Engage: Conversations in Philosophy. Not only does he take up good issues, he’s guided by a thick sense of civic engagement. A while back we published an essay of his, “Cosmopolitan Loyalty and the Great Global Community,” in the Kettering Review (Spring 2004), taking up the cosmopolitan paradox of having both national and international citizenship. Joseph Orosco’s blog is another good example of public philosophy. Any more out there?
I once read this horrible statistic that maybe four people read any given refereed journal article. Can that be? What a waste of all the energy and thought that goes into this kind of intense writing. And what a shame, we often lament, that writing for “the public” doesn’t count in promotion and tenure decisions. Gone are the days (namely the 1950s), when public intellectuals could write and be respected for writing to an educated and still broad public. Some of us are out to change this, in one way or another. Several years ago John Lachs and others helped raise money for an American Philosophical Association Committee on Public Philosophy. I’ve been part of this pioneering group. We’ve held some special sessions at the eastern and central APA. This is just a start.
So what is public philosophy? I’d say it is philosophy that is in some way or another engaged with public concerns, and not necessarily political ones, and with the public itself. This blog of mine is a species of public philosophy. The title “gone public” doesn’t refer to any initial public offering of stock options to the public. No cents are being made here, though I hope some sense is. We need a separate web site for public philosophy, but in the meantime send your thoughts here by way of a comment describing what kind of public philosophy you see happening in your corner of the world.