Archives For field philosophy

Editor’s Note:

    The following are elements of syllabi for a graduate, and an undergraduate, course taught by Robert Frodeman in spring 2017 at the University of North Texas. These courses offers an interesting juxtaposition of texts aimed at reimagining how to perform academic philosophy as “field philosophy”. Field philosophy seeks to address meaningfully, and demonstrably, contemporary public debates, regarding transhumanism for example, given attention to shifting ideas and frameworks of both the Humboldtian university and the “new American” university.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-3xB

Philosophy 5250: Topics in Philosophy

Overall Theme

This course continues my project of reframing academic philosophy within the approach and problematics of field philosophy.

In terms of philosophic categories, we will be reading classics in 19th and 20th century continental philosophy: Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. But we will be approaching these texts with an agenda: to look for insights into a contemporary philosophical controversy, the transhumanist debate. This gives us two sets of readings – our three authors, and material from the contemporary debate surrounding transhumanism.

Now, this does not mean that we will restrict our interest in our three authors to what is applicable to the transhumanist debate; our thinking will go wherever our interests take us. But the topic of transhumanism will be primus inter pares.

Readings

  • Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, Preface
  • Hegel, The Science of Logic, selections
  • Heidegger, Being and Time, Division 1, Macquarrie translation
  • Heidegger, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’
  • Nietzsche, selections from Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil

Related Readings

Grading

You will have two assignments, both due at the end of the semester. I strongly encourage you to turn in drafts of your papers.

  • A 2500 word paper on a major theme from one of our three authors.
  • A 2500 word paper using our three authors to illuminate your view of the transhumanist challenge.

Philosophy 4750: Philosophy and Public Policy

Overview

This is a course in meta-philosophy. It seeks to develop a philosophy adequate for the 21st century.

Academic philosophy has been captured by a set of categories (ancient, modern, contemporary; ethics, logic, metaphysics, epistemology) that are increasingly dysfunctional for contemporary life. Therefore, this is not merely a course on a specific subject matter (i.e., ‘public policy’) to be added to the rest. Rather, it seeks to question, and philosophize about, the entire knowledge enterprise as it exists today – and to philosophize about the role of philosophy in understanding and perhaps (re)directing the knowledge enterprise.

The course will cover the following themes:

  • The past, present, and future of the university in the Age of Google
  • The end of disciplinarity and the rise of accountability culture
  • The New Republic of Letters and the role of the humanist today
  • The failure of applied philosophy and the development of alternative models

Course Structure

This course is ‘live’: it reflects 20 years of my research on place of philosophy in contemporary society. As such, the course embodies a Humboldtian connection between teaching and research: I am not simply a teacher and a researcher; I’m a teacher-researcher who shares the insights I’m developing with students, testing my thinking in the classroom, and sharing my freshest thoughts. This breaks with the corporate model of education where the professor is an interchangeable cog, teaching the same materials that could be gotten at any university worldwide – while also opening me up to charges of self-indulgence.

Readings

  • Michael M. Crow and William B. Dabars, Designing the New American University
  • Crow chapter in HOI
  • Clark, Academic Charisma
  • Fuller, The Academic Caesar
  • Rudy, The Universities of Europe, 1100-1914
  • Fuller, Sociology of Intellectual Life
  • Smith, Philosophers 6 Types
  • Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy
  • Plato, The Republic, Book 1

Recently, my colleague at the Reply Collective, Robert Frodeman (along with his partner Adam Briggle), has been embroiled in a fairly controversial discussion about the future of philosophy. It’s been fun to read, and not just because I don’t feel so lonely as if I was the only one making fundamental challenges to the future of a major knowledge tradition. (Link to the full article …)

Author Information: Robert Frodeman, University of North Texas, Robert.Frodeman@unt.edu; Adam Briggle, University of North Texas, Adam.Briggle@unt.edu

Please refer to:

This debate [please refer above to posts and comments by Maring and Frodeman and Briggle] is starting to remind us of what’s wrong about philosophy. We bet that with each iteration fewer are reading. Why? The argument grows inbred and solipsistic, consisting of refutations and claims of contradiction and faulty logic—rather than the kind of forward-looking generosity of spirit that draws people in. This is in part the unfortunate ignoring of rhetoric by contemporary philosophy.

In an attempt to break out of tit-for-tat, let us make a few points more in the spirit of a former colleague, who always encouraged us to look for the doorway rather than the wall.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Maya Frodeman, Reed College, mfrodema@reed.edu

Frodeman, Maya. “A Challenge for Frodeman and Briggle.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 30-33.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1Aw

Please refer to:

The introduction to Frodeman and Briggle’s forthcoming book, Socrates Untenured: Toward a 21st Century Philosophy, outlines a provocative critique of higher education and professional philosophy. Yet do the authors take their point far enough? I suggest that unless Frodeman and Briggle deepen their critique this book will fail to prompt the changes that our system of higher education needs.

There is a Catch-22 embedded in their introduction: a book challenging the traditions of academia written by two white, tenured males. The book will turn some heads. (Perhaps it cannot be any other way: you are either inside the system looking out, or outside looking in.) In fact, the book will likely upset academics who cherish the current system of knowledge production. However, there needs to be another voice in the book. Frodeman and Briggle need to add a perspective that will allow their book to speak to new audiences and ensure that their ideas in Socrates Untenured live past a weekend.  Continue Reading…