Can Philosophy Be Justified in a Time of Crisis?

Posted: 15 Sep 2015  

Nathan J Robinson

Harvard University

Date Written: September 3, 2015

Abstract

In this paper, I take the position that a large portion of contemporary academic work is an appalling waste of human intelligence that cannot be justified under any mainstream normative ethics. Part I builds a four-step argument for why this is the case, while Part II responds to arguments for the contrary position offered in Cass Sunstein’s “In Defense of Law Reviews.” First, in Part I(A), I make the case that there is a large crisis of suffering in the world today. (Part I does not take me very long.). In Part I(B), I assess various theories of “the role of the intellectual,” concluding that the only role for the intellectual is for the intellectual to cease to exist. In Part I(C), I assess the contemporary state of the academy, showing that, contrary to the theory advanced in Part I(B), many intellectuals insist on continuing to exist. In Part I(D), I propose a new path forward, whereby present-day intellectuals take on a useful social function by spreading truths that help to alleviate the crisis of suffering outlined in Part I(A).

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Nathan J, Can Philosophy Be Justified in a Time of Crisis? (September 3, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655751

Nathan J Robinson (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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