A Place For Public Philosophy: Reviving A Practice
This dissertation is a presentation and defense of the idea that public philosophy is a valuable activity, and that public philosophy should be generally supported because it provides benefits to the people who engage in it, and it raises esteem for philosophy generally. Historically philosophy was, in some measure, geared more toward the general public than it is today. Examining the history of philosophy in the most general terms reveals a trend for philosophy, over time, to become less accessible to the public and more of a specialized and professional practice. Philosophy is an activity that can and should provide benefits to people other than professional academic philosophers. In particular, applied philosophy is useful to other disciplines and professions. Applied philosophy is more well-known than public philosophy. Public philosophy may take two forms. There is public philosophy created for the public by public intellectuals. There is also a less well-known variant, philosophy by the public, which allows non-philosophers to participate in philosophical reflection and discussion in public philosophy programs. Public philosophy programs are an innovative way to revive the practice of philosophy as a way for ordinary people to improve their everyday lives. Public philosophy programs benefit individuals as well as their communities.