Podcast: Politics and Public Philosophy

These episodes are Zach Biondi’s j’accuse against the aloof philosophical establishment. He wrote four articles:

What Philosophy Owes Society I
What Philosophy Owes Society II: Anti-Intellectualism
What Philosophy Owes Society III: a New Public Philosophy
What Philosophy Owes Society VI: Better Teachers

In this first part, Zach is joined by Lila, Adam, and Justin to discuss the ‘O’ in ‘WPOS’—that is, “owe”. What is the duty of philosophers? On the one hand, philosophers know which side the bread is buttered on, and that’s the side where a certain type a society gives them research grants and funds the universities they work in. They owe it at least to themselves to keep that type of free and humanities-supporting society alive. Moreover, the current crisis of critical thinking shines a philosophical batlight upon the firmament, as if it were a call to arms for philosophers to come out of the cave and engage with a benighted public. Will Zach wake them from their supercilious slumber? The saga begins here.

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In the second installment of the What Philosophy Owes Society series, Zach and Justin discuss a putative American epidemic, anti-intellectualism. But what is anti-intellectualism? Why is it brought up so often? Why is it as prevalent as it is? Could it be that it’s a hopelessly vague concept, deployed mainly to reinforce politico-epistemic (!) power dynamics, all with the effect of obscuring the culpability of intellectuals themselves? Sounds crazy. But it just might be true.

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Zach, Lila, and Adam get self-reflective and talk about public philosophy. What is it? What should it be? And what should we make of the attitude many ‘private’ philosophers take towards it? This episode digs into the political dimensions of public philosophy.

References:
Alain de Botton video on Spinoza:
The NYT profile of Jordan Peterson that Zach mentions:

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