The modern philosophers in the pre-Kantian period ... were in the majority of cases unconnected with the work of academic teaching. Descartes was never a university professor. Nor was Spinoza, though he recieved an invitation to Heidelberg. And Leibniz was very much a man of affairs who refused a professorship because he had quite another kind of life in view. In England Locke held minor posts in the service of the State; Berkeley was a bishop; and though Hume attempted to secure a university chair, he did not succeed in doing so. As for the French philosophers of the eighteenth century, such as Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau, they were obviously men of letters with philosophical interests.
Saturday, 27 October 2012
CFP: Weaponising Speculation
In the same week that I started to make some creative use of the term 'weaponising' in my teaching (after enjoying its deployment at AUFs for some time) comes news of this Speculative Realist conference at Dublin. This is likely to be a great event, especially given the para-academic emphasis, which I am thinking about a lot at the moment. It particularly struck me, while preparing a new lecture on the Enlightenment yesterday, that some rather important historical periods of European philosophy have been shaped by thinkers outside the university. This certainly isn't news to many, but the following passage by Copleston resonated with me when I read it, reminding me of what could be the role of the para-academic in the future.
Of course for this to work, I would expect future history to note of the early twenty-first century philosophers that X was a copywriter, Y was a postal worker and Z was long term unemployed, perhaps adding that they were women and men of blogs with philosophical interests.