Call for Manuscripts: Studies in Critical Metaphilosophy & Critical History of Philosophy.

1. The APP Editors, W, X, Y, and Z, hereby announce a call-for-manuscripts for Studies in Critical Metaphilosophy & Critical History of Philosophy (SCM&CHP).

–Manuscripts can be of any length, from 1-2 page short essays to book-length studies.

–The Editors are also fully open to considering relevant philosophical manuscripts done in non-traditional formats or genres, e.g., “Frankenscience.”

–Selected manuscripts will be published in APP & also archived in a separate SCM&CHP area of the APP website, in freely accessible, downloadable versions.

–Manuscripts may be published under the author’s own name or a pseudonym of her/his choice.

–Multiple publication in other online or hard-copy venues will be permitted, provided that the author is willing to allow APP to archive the version originally published in SCM&CHP.

–Philosophers working inside or outside professional academic philosophy are equally encouraged to submit manuscripts. And previous contributors to APP are especially encouraged to submit manuscripts. Moreover, the APP Editors expect they will sometimes publish their own work in SCM&CHP too.

–The editorial process will be consistently philosophically constructive, fair, friendly, and timely.

–Please submit your manuscripts to this e-address: <>.

2. Studies in Critical Metaphilosophy & Critical History of Philosophy: Its Rationale and Basic Aim.

Metaphilosophy is the philosophy of philosophy, that is, philosophy reflecting on itself. All philosophy, explicitly or implicitly, includes metaphilosophy. And correspondingly there have been many “interesting” articles and books published on metaphilosophical issues, e.g., in the journal Metaphilosophy, and Timothy Williamson’s The Philosophy of Philosophy.

Nevertheless, it is one thing for philosophy merely to reflect on itself, and another for philosophy to raise the question of its own real possibility, rational justifiability, and continued existence.

In this way, critical metaphilosophy is the philosophical critique of philosophy: a systematic philosophical investigation into philosophy’s own nature, origins, scope and limits, and its grounds of rational justification, that explicitly and fully considers the idea of an all-out anti-philosophical skepticism, rapid or slow philosophical regress, and the end of real philosophy itself, even if professional academic philosophy goes on and on and on, in an endless night of the philosophical living dead.

Critical metaphilosophy, as we are understanding it, has direct implications for the study of the history of philosophy, by virtue of its commitment to The No-Deep-Difference Thesis:

There is no fundamental difference in philosophical content between the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy.

In other words, in doing contemporary philosophy one is thereby directly engaging with the history of philosophy, and in doing the history of philosophy one is thereby directly engaging with contemporary philosophy. There is no fundamental difference in philosophical content between philosophy that was thought, spoken, written, or published 2000 or 200 or 20 years ago, or 20 months  ago, and philosophy that was thought, spoken, written, or published 20 weeks or 20 days or 20 minutes or 20 seconds ago. Critical history of philosophy, then, is the creation of new philosophy by means of thinking, speaking, writing, or publication, or the critical study of existing philosophy, in accordance with The No-Deep-Difference Thesis.

Critical metaphilosophy and critical history of philosophy become urgently necessary when contemporary philosophy itself is in a critical state, i.e., a state of existential and rational crisis, such that its real possibility, rational justifiability and even its continued existence are put seriously into question.

Scientism and the professionalization of philosophy since the end of the WW II, in the McCarthy era and the Cold War, and now in the post-Cold War age of neoliberalism, have brought on a new and profound crisis, by not only mentally enslaving but also politically compromising professional academic philosophy at the leading universities and colleges, by increasingly converting it into a mere intellectual service industry for the natural sciences, and a mere institutional extension of the classical post-World War II military-industrial complex, in close combination with the contemporary post-Cold War technocratic global corporate capitalist world of states.

Precisely because of its deep sociocultural and political dimensions, this crisis is so insidious and severe that it threatens the very future of real philosophy–as opposed to professional academic philosophy, which could still have a long puppet-like, Frankensteinian, or zombie future ahead of it–as an authentic, sustainable intellectual, personal, and more generally practical enterprise.

It is also crucial to note that the widespread explicit or implicit denial of The No-Deep-Difference Thesis in contemporary professional academic philosophy is itself a basic symptom of the critical state of contemporary philosophy. If you really think that the history of philosophy is essentially distinct from philosophy as such, or conversely, then you have the occupational disease.

Unlike other forms of rational human inquiry, as synoptic rational reflection on the human condition, philosophy is inherently temporal, an ongoing active rational engagement with the whole human condition, spread out in time and space, and fully embedded in the larger natural world.The occupational disease, then, consists in cutting off the present of philosophy from its vital source, its own past, thereby killing it intellectually and spiritually, and then sending its puppet or re-animated corpse chugging away forever into the future as professional academic philosophy.

Heinrich von Kleist’s “In the Marionette Theater” and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are excellent early 19th century parables of critical metaphilosophy and critical history of philosophy. And here are several excellent more explicit examples:

–Plato’s critique of the Sophists, esp. in the Theaetetus and the Protagoras

–Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, esp. the A & B Prefaces and the Transcendental Dialectic

–Schopenhauer’s “On University Philosophy”

–Nietzsche’s The Gay Science

–Husserl’s Crisis of European Sciences

–Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

–Max Horkheimer’s Eclipse of Reason

–Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature and Consequences of Pragmatism

–Bernard Williams’s Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy

–Susan Haack’s “The Legitimacy of Metaphysics: Kant’s Legacy to Peirce, and Peirce’s to Philosophy Today”

–John McCumber’s Time in the Ditch: American Philosophy and the McCarthy Era

–Bruce Wilshire’s Fashionable Nihilism: A Critique of Analytic Philosophy

–Ruth Garrett Millikan’s Dewey Lecture, “Accidents”

–Adrian Piper’s Preface to the Second Edition of Rationality and the Structure of the Self

–Peter Unger’s Empty Ideas: A Critique of Analytic Philosophy

But we also think that, as brilliant and important as these essays and books may be, they have only scratched the surface of what is really possible, and also what is now absolutely necessary in order to prevent contemporary philosophy from entering into the endless night of the philosophical living dead.

In a nutshell, then, this is the basic aim of Studies in Critical Metaphilosophy & Critical History of Philosophy:

To encourage, develop, support, and publish philosophical research in critical metaphilosophy and critical history of philosophy, for the sake of the real philosophy of the future.

This entry was posted in Not An Edgy Essay by Z. Bookmark the permalink.

About Z

Z is a 50-something cosmopolitan anarcho-philosopher, and previously was a tenured full professor of philosophy at a public university somewhere in North America, but still managed to escape with his life.