In Praise of Semi-Professional Philosophy.

APP Editors’ note: Ishmael is a tenured associate professor of philosophy at a small private university somewhere in North America. I have written in reply to a previous Edgy Essay about the benefits of membership in the Semi-Professional Academic State, which is to say the benefits of teaching at a small undergraduate university. Since such … [continue reading]

From Enlightenment Lite to Nihilism: How Professional Philosophy Has Totally Let Everyone Down about the Real Purpose of an Undergraduate Liberal Arts Education.

Recently, someone sent me a copy of this extremely recent interesting Harper’s article by William Deresiewicz, “The Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold its Soul to the Market.” It’s a scathing critique of contemporary undergraduate liberal arts education, very nicely timed to appear with the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year. I don’t know WD’s previous … [continue reading]

The Strange Case of Don-the-Monster, Or, Coercive Moralism in Professional Philosophy

Part 1. Y’s Take on The Strange Case of Don-the-Monster. One of my colleagues (let’s call him Don) considers himself a religious man and has a strong background in ethics. He specializes in health care ethics, and also plays an integral role in emphasizing the importance of “teaching values across the curriculum” at our institution. … [continue reading]

The Pseudo-Family from Hell: Against Philosophy Departments & For Philosophy Research Groups.

Every happy philosophy department is the same, but each unhappy philosophy department is fucked up in its own special, weird way. Of course, I’m profanely spinning on the justly famous first line of Tolstoy’s titanically brilliant Anna Karenina. Tolstoy knew all about fucked-up families. But philosophers are, by nature, special, weird people; and professional academic … [continue reading]