On Recovering Philosophy: Philosophical Dialogue and Political Philosophy After 9/11
Once upon a time, it was thought that philosophy was indispensable for the good life. That meant it did not need to justify its continued existence. But this time belongs to the past. Hence it is important to ask, if philosophy is to survive or at least to continue in a meaningful way, whether it still has anything worthwhile to say in an age of globalization. This theme, which is constitutive of Western philosophy, is compounded by the events of 9/11, which, as I write are clearly still with us. This essay will urge two points. On the one hand, I think that we need to take steps to recover philosophy. This is a perennial problem, which does not depend on 9/11, since philosophy is always in the position of needing to justify its social utility. This is not provoked by any specific recent event, but is so to speak always on the agenda, always something philosophers need to wonder about. On the other hand, I think we need to take steps now to begin to recover political philosophy, which, in the wake of 9/11, and for specific reasons, is in danger of becoming simply irrelevant.