Category Archives: Brian Leiter

Brian Leiter

Professional philosophy, like any hierarchical organization, also displays unpleasant bureaucratic features, such as cronyism and in-breeding. Philosophers often describe their discipline as being an especially “critical” one, yet much of the time philosophers are deeply uncritical, more so than most might believe. As Hegel appreciated, most philosophers tend to capture their time in thought, that is, they end up giving expression to and trying to rationalize the most deep-seated beliefs of their culture (vide Hegel himself, not to mention Kant). Much philosophy takes quite seriously our ordinary “intuitions”—untutored and immediate responses to particular questions or problems—in ways that might be thought suspect. Much philosophy fits the mold of a recent book by an eminent philosopher, whose publisher describes it as “reconcile[ing] our common-sense conception of ourselves as conscious, free, mindful, rational agents” with “a world that we believe includes brute, unconscious, mindless, meaningless, mute physical particles in fields of force”. But why think such a reconciliation is in the offing? Too often, the answer is unclear in philosophy.

Brian Leiter, The Future for Philosophy, New York, 2004, pp. 20-21