Degree Name

BA

Department

Philosophy

College

Fine Arts and Communications

Defense Date

2020-03-05

Publication Date

2020-03-19

First Faculty Advisor

Gordy Mower

First Faculty Reader

David Jensen

Honors Coordinator

Ryan Christensen

Keywords

Public Philosophy, Philosophy, Virtue, citizenship, liberalism, Intellectual Virtue

Abstract

Public philosophy is a relatively new area of meta-philosophy requiring further development. In this paper I seek to establish a clear definition of public philosophy and clarify what at times has become a muddled term. This is followed by laying a groundwork for how to view philosophical study and its consequences to the students. I primarily address Weinstein’s argument that public philosophy is primarily for entertainment. This is based on one of his points that public philosophy leads to self-knowledge (self-cultivation). Rather than peripheral to public philosophy, I will argue that this is central to public philosophy, establishing it as an intrinsically valuable practice. It is intrinsically valuable because it leads to self-cultivation and the development of intellectual virtues. This addresses Weinstein’s concerns that studying philosophy does not make us better citizens. Instead, it invites considerations for reforming public education as well as the professional incentives philosophers have. By aligning tenure and promotion incentives more with the teaching mission of philosophy, we can make space for the practice of public philosophy in academia. While this does not require all academics, it certainly requires more public philosophy to be produced by philosophers than is currently done.

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