Skip to main content

Philosophy dedisciplined

Abstract

This essay offers a critique of disciplinary philosophy, the dominant form of academic philosophy in the United States and elsewhere across the twentieth century. It argues that disciplinary philosophy represents an aberration compared to the main tradition of two thousand years of Western philosophy. It describes the characteristics of a dedisciplined philosophy, and emphasizes that dedisciplining philosophy requires attention to be paid to the linked institutional and theoretical elements of philosophy. The essay bases its argument in part on the results of a survey sent to more than 500 philosophy departments across North America in the summer of 2010.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Allenby B., Sarewitz D. (2011) The techno-human condition. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bordogna F. (2008) William James at the boundaries. Chicago University Press, Chicago

    Google Scholar 

  3. Central Daily Times. (2011). Penn State: Proposed state cut ‘catastrophic’. http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/08/2568555/penn-state-proposed-higher-education.html. Accessed 2 March 2012.

  4. Chronicle. (2011, May 3). U. of Texas board chairman calls for bigger, cheaper flagship. Chronicle of Higher Education.

  5. Etchison, H. (2011). Philosophy department would be saved in revised plan. The Rebel Yell, Accessed April 7, 2011, from http://unlvrebelyell.com/2011/04/07/philosophy-department-would-be-saved-in-revised-plan/.

  6. Fiegener, M. K., NSF. (2009). Numbers of U.S. Doctorates awarded rise for sixth year, but growth slower, NSF 10-308, November 2009. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf10308/. Accessed 24 Sept 2012.

  7. Frodeman, R. (2007). The role of humanities policy in public science. In Public science in liberal democracies (pp. 111–120). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  8. Frodeman, R. (2010). Experiments in field philosophy. New York Times op-ed, part of the stone series. Accessed November 23, 2010, from http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/experiments-in-field-philosophy/.

  9. Frodeman R. (2011) Interdisciplinary thinking and academic sustainability: Managing knowledge in an age of accountability. Environmental Conservation 38(1): 105–112

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Frodeman, R., Briggle, A., & Holbrook, J. B. (2012). Philosophy in the age of neoliberalism. Social Epistemology, 26(3&4), 18–36.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hall, G. S. (1879). Philosophy in the United States. Mind, 4(13), 89–105

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hartford T. (2011) Adapt: why success always starts with failure. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York

    Google Scholar 

  13. Hrotic, S. (forthcoming). Survey of the philosophic discipline. Minerva.

  14. JBL Associates. (2008, December 2). Reversing course: The troubled state of academic staffing and the way forward. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.

  15. Kitcher, P. (2011). Philosophy inside out. Metaphilosophy, 42(3), 248–260.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Lewin, T. (2012). Harvard and M.I.T. team up to offer free online courses. New York Times. Accessed May 2, 2012, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/education/harvard-and-mit-team-up-to-offer-free-online-courses.html.

  17. Marchand P. (1998) Marshall McLuhan: The medium and the messenger. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  18. McCumber J. (2001) Time in a ditch: American philosophy and the McCarthy era. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL

    Google Scholar 

  19. Newfield, C. (2009). Ending the budget wars: Funding the humanities during a crisis in higher education. Profession, 2009, 270–284.

  20. Nietzsche, F. (1886/2008). Beyond good and evil (trans: Kaufmann, W.). Wilder Publications.

  21. Patal, V. (2010). A&M system grades faculty—by bottom line. Theeagle.com at http://www.theeagle.com/am/A-amp-amp-M-grades-faculty. Accessed 6 March 2012.

  22. Reisch G. A. (2005) How the Cold War transformed philosophy of science. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Book  Google Scholar 

  23. Repko A. F. (2008) Interdisciplinary research: Process and theory. Sage Publishing, New York

    Google Scholar 

  24. Schmidt, J. (2010). Prospects for a philosophy of interdisciplinarity. In R. Frodeman, J. T. Klein, & C. Mitcham (Eds.), Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity (pp. 39–41). Oxford University Press.

  25. Singer, P. W. (2009). Wired for war: The robotics revolution and 21st century conflict. New York: Penguin.

  26. Taylor, M. C. (2010). Crisis on campus: A bold plan for reforming our colleges and universities. Knopf.

  27. Weissman, J. (2012). How in the world did college costs rise 15% in only two years? The Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/how-in-the-world-did-college-costs-rise-15-in-only-2-years/258463/. Accessed 24 Sept 2012.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert Frodeman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Frodeman, R. Philosophy dedisciplined. Synthese 190, 1917–1936 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-012-0181-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Twentieth century philosophy
  • Disciplinarity
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Institutional change