With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters
Afterword: Doctors of Philosophy JOHN DURHAM PETERS 499
Afterword Doctors of Philosophy JOHN DURHAM PETERS ________________________________________ Isaiah Berlin once summed up Judaism’s fate thus: “Too much history, too little geography.” With the rise and differentiation of the modern sciences, philosophy had a similar problem. In the high middle ages, the sun never set on philosophy’s empire: All inquiry was philosophy. The legacy lived on long after the empire had faded, with “philosopher” designating any intellectual in the early modern period, down to our current PhD, which makes any professional scientist or scholar into an honorary philosopher, a postcolonial relic of former glory rather like the Union Jack that adorns a quadrant of the flags of several former British colonies. Today in many European universities the “philosophical faculty” still houses the natural and social sciences, humanities, and fine arts. Philosophy provided the culture and language for the modern disciplines much in the way that English is spoken in India, Jamaica, and New Zealand. But what was left for philosophy itself? What was its unique cognitive claim when the modern arts and sciences were bursting with so much wealth? A disciplinary crisis has shaped modern philosophy at least since Kant, and an enormously varied range of answers have since been given to the question of philosophy’s mission by spirits as diverse as Hegel and Marx, Peirce and Dewey, Russell and Wittgenstein, Heidegger and Carnap. Philosophy was an owl flying at dusk or a cock crowing at dawn, a theory of signs or a tool of social criticism, the foundation of mathematics...
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