Thursday, May 26, 2011

Flight of Curiosity from Graduate school

The Stone at the New York times, moderated by Simon Critchley, chair of the department of philosophy of New School in New York, asks: 

Must one be endowed with curiosity in order to become a philosopher?

The answer is no, especially for graduate students. What does this mean for our profession?
 Graduate students are expected to be only focused on their small nit-picky section of philosophy and not have hobbies or at least that is how student must present themselves. Is this what we want in philosophy, to banish curiosity to the non-academics and the tenured many of whom have long ago lost the childlike wonder?

Full article HERE

But how were these boundaries formed in the first place? Did they spring from the very essence of philosophy, a set of core attributes present at inception, forever fixed and eternal? The answer to that latter question, is also “no.” What appears to us today to be a core is only what is left over after a centuries-long process by which the virtue of curiosity — once nearly synonymous with philosophy — migrated into other disciplines, both scientific and humanistic. As this migration was occurring, many curiosity-driven activities — such as insect-collecting and star-gazing, long considered at least tributaries of philosophy — were downgraded to the status of mere hobbies. This loss of curiosity has played an important but little noticed role in the widespread perception that professional philosophy has become out of touch with the interests of the broader society.
Full article HERE

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