Cities on flame with philosophy
A small town in the United Kingdom, hometown of Thomas Hobbes, order viagra online
world/2010/oct/18/malmesbury-philosophy-town?intcmp=239″>hopes to become the world’s first “philosophy town.” There are many proposals, including a festival, a philosophy walk, and a bookstore/coffee house for philosophical discussion. “Town philosopher” Angie Hobbs on the project:
“I think people are hungry for this stuff,”
she said. “We’ve got ourselves in such as mess in the world – the environment, the banking crisis, the whole issue of fairness. Philosophy may be able to help a bit. We don’t have all the answers but we can help the debate.” […] But she is excited at the prospect of non-academics getting stuck into philosophy. “You don’t have to want to be a professional philosopher,” she said. “You don’t have to be able to wrestle with the knottier passages of [Immanuel] Kant to be able to get a huge amount out of the subject. “It’s OK to dabble. Don’t be scared. There are a lot of people thinking we really need this because we’ve got into such a mess not using human reason to its full potential.”
I share Hobbs enthusiasm for the project, although I think it should proceed with caution. Learning philosophy – its arguments, its theories – is one thing, but all students of philosophy also want to argue and push back. This is one interesting aspect of teaching philosophy that separates it from teaching, for example, the sciences. When this type of engagement is done carefully and with intellectual honesty, it is a great way to learn and explore the contours of an issue. However, if it is done in haste, without sufficient commitment, it can result in confusion and even dogmatism. The architects of the project should be careful about how they present material in a non-academic setting in order to combat this tendency.
Photo by Flickr user Dogfael used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.