Public Philosophy: Perspectives and Challenges

December 5, 2024 - December 6, 2024
Institute of Philosophy, Zagreb

Ulica grada Vukovara 54

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Universita' degli Studi di Pavia (PhD)

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In recent years, an increasing number of philosophers have insisted that philosophy should move beyond the academic domain and engage more intensively with the public. After all, philosophy has been a public affair since its beginnings: Socrates practised his philosophy in the marketplaces of Athens, and ancient philosophical schools dedicated a significant part of their activities to influencing the public. Moreover, many prominent figures in the history of philosophy, especially in early modern philosophy, were not exclusively academic philosophers but intellectuals with extensive extra-philosophical interestsoften involved in public affairs. Further, public engagement has also been an important part of the lives and works of numerous philosophers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Given that philosophy addresses questions of inherent interest to society, the advocates of public philosophy argue that it cannot––and must not––remain confined to the ivory tower.

The conference aims to bring together philosophers from different fields and traditions to consider some of the central questions related to public philosophy. Questions to be addressed include, but are not limited to: What is public philosophy? How does it relate to popular and applied philosophy? Why is the public presence of philosophy, understood as a scholarly discipline, important or necessary, if at all? How does the public role of philosophy today differ from that in the past? What are the most appropriate methods of engaging in public philosophy? Is the idea of public and/or popular philosophy a trivialization of the discipline?

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