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April Philosophical Happy Hour


Speaker: Open Discussion

When: Apr 06, 2018 - 03:00pm - 05:00pm

Where: Department of Philosophy Lounge, Humanities 535



Join us for a Philosophical Happy Hour on Friday, April 6th, from 3-5 pm in the Philosophy Lounge (HUM 535)! 

Topic: "Philosophy and the Present"

Description: The subject of this month’s discussion will be the extent to which philosophy is obligated to conceptualize and critique, perhaps radically so, its own time. Hegel famously remarked that “philosophy is its own time comprehended in thought.” However it is understood, this claim raises a host of questions about the relation of philosophical inquiry to the present. Essential to the reception of Hegel’s comment is the idea of a ‘philosophical discourse of modernity,’ an ongoing conversation in which the ‘modern age’ gets defined and, of course, contested. Must philosophy be engaged in this project of understanding and interrogating the present? If so, by what means or method? How should we evaluate recent attempts to build a philosophical discourse of modernity, whether in the phenomenological–hermeneutical, critical theoretical, feminist, pragmatist, or other traditions? Or is it rather more essential to philosophy that it engages in the pursuit of timeless truth—or perhaps dwelling on its own historical past—such that the character of the modern age is not of immediate concern? Is it not rather the provenance of politics or other domains of culture to tackle these issues? Are ideas like the ‘modern age’ and the ‘present’ even conceptually coherent enough such that we could meaningfully discuss them? In an informal conversation, we will try to raise some of these and/or other related questions about philosophy’s engagement with the character of the present.