Types or kinds of Teaching Philosophy 5
Chasing Philosophy’s Ghost – Methods 47
Chasing Philosophy’s Ghost – Theorizing (continued) 96
Where to begin Philosophy 178
Self-imposed Limits 180
Institutionalization and Professionalization 181
Lack of Meta-Cognition 186
Why read philosophy by original, creative thinkers;
Rather than derivative, professional academics 203
I have been working on meta-philosophy for quite some time and was pleasantly surprised to encounter, mid-May 2017, someone who shares this commitment (apart from his many other interests and specializations) for very similar reasons as my own. He is Dr Desh Ray Sirswal from India and one of his numerous websites, blogs, journals, etc is – http://drsirswal.webs.com/
I let him speak for himself. “My objective is to achieve an intellectual detachment from all philosophical systems, and not to solve specific philosophical problems but to become sensitively aware of what it is when we philosophize.” Copyright© Desh Raj Sirswal .
I commence by dealing with the teaching of philosophy, because the contents of what is being taught at under-graduate level is for most people who are slightly informed about the subject what philosophy is about. This usually consists of the history of Ideas of Western Philosophy. Although an increasing number of faculties now broaden the scope to the ‘philosophies’ of Asia, the Far East and the Middle East. This international broadening of what is being included in curricula of or as philosophy is another index that Western Philosophy is in need of subject-matter as its traditional subject-matter have all but died out.
Apart from the History of Philosophical ideas, the subject often is presented in terms of so-called branches, for example metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, ethics, logic, and so on. A number of authors suggest that both ways of teaching the discipline is very selective because of the departments adherence to some form of either ‘analytical’ or ‘continental’ philosophy.
Apart from the traditional lecture-style the teaching of philosophy is dealt with by means of some variation on the Oxbridge ‘tutorial’-style. Tutorials are often acclaimed as being an amazing, to be highly regarded innovation. Some studies and research of it however revealed that is not at all very comprehensive but is restricted to a number of items concerning reasoning, argumentation and critical re-viewing and thinking. This approach forms part of the attempt by contemporary research universities to teach aspects of ‘research’.
This brings us to my next section on methods of doing philosophy. I suggest that the doing of philosophy resembles certain aspects and contexts of some of the steps and stages of doing theorizing. This is the rationale for including the next section on theorizing, its steps, stages and other aspects such as the use of metaphors, imaginary experiments, heuristic devices, etc.
The next section deals with the changing nature of traditional philosophy as it lost most of its subject-matter to other disciplines that have been socio-culturally differentiated. And the search for new philosophical subject-matter such as Experimental Philosophy or XPhi, the involvement of philosophers in inter-disciplinary studies, especially the latest fad of cognitive studies or sciences and of course the fabrication of philosophies of all areas of human behaviour and kinds of socio-cultural activities for example sport, the arts, sciences, cognition, sex, violence, gender, race, religion, etc etc.
I then turn to the question about how, where and why one could perhaps do philosophy against the background of the above. In this investigation I make explicit some of the self-imposed limits of the discourse. Some of these restrictions have been created because of the absolute institutionalization of the discipline as just another subject of universities. This institutionalization of course requires that those involved in the discipline of institutionalized philosophy must be professionals. This absolute requirement lays down the condition that to be a philosopher one must be a professional and an academic. The conditions of institutionalization and professionalization have far reaching consequences for the philosophical discourse, its subject-matter, methods, principles, values, aims, purposes and norms. One of these is the need to publish and to publish often especially in peer-reviewed journals and in their required, institutionalized format.
Because of these institutionalized restrictions of what philosophy is, what it must be like, what it may be like and what it may not be like I explore the lack of self-cognition of academically institutionalized philosophy and the associated absence of critical, meta-cognition and self-awareness of professional philosophers. I question the values of doing that type of philosophy, philosophy-on-demand and because of demand and suggest that it is preferable to engage with the more original, creative-thinking philosophers’ work. All of the above are of course intersubjectively determined and this is why I finally explore the nature and operation of different forms of intersubjectivity, for example of common sense, everyday existence, that of the different sciences, the arts, etc and the roles or functions of these things in the creation or constitution of alternative discourses, their realities, life-worlds or perspectives on ‘the world, reality, and existence’.
This is the phantom, the ghost of the deceased discourse of philosophy that I chased, encountered and describe.