Publication Date: 27 MARCH 2023
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Philosopher, we thought we would look forward rather than back!
Since The Philosopher launched in 1923, numerous seismic changes have happened within philosophy. Many of the discipline’s aims and goals (e.g. to generate complete systems of knowledge) have been brought into question. Truth, reality, objectivity – these are all now contested in ways that would have seemed unthinkable a hundred years ago. The disciplinary norms have also radically changed. Philosophy is no longer simply white men engaging in pugilistic intellectual stand-offs, each one vying for the “killer touch”; rather the demographics of philosophy have changed, as well as the range of topics considered “truly philosophical”. With the “New Basics” series that we ran in 2022, we tried to capture something of the shape of philosophy’s present: socially and politically engaged, radical, interdisciplinary, provocative. We now wish to look to the future.
If The Philosopher ends up reaching our second centenary in 2123, what will philosophy have contributed to the previous century? How can philosophical thinking open windows onto other possible futures? And, looking meta-philosophically, where is the discipline of philosophy going? What are its prospects and ambitions, both inside academia and beyond?
From Chi Rainer Bornfree’s opening thoughts on the perils of predicting the future to Jeremy Bendik-Keymer’s passionate defence of relational reasoning that closes the main section, we hope you enjoy these short, provocative glimpses at where philosophy is going. Accompanying these essays is a series of images from Agnieszka Pilat exploring the relationship between humans and machines. As she puts it, “My life’s purpose is to capture technology’s messianic role – utopian, optimistic, promising an endless succession of improvements. For me, the machine represents life itself.”
Other highlights include: Eva Meijer introduces us to the idea of political listening; the Buddhist monk Ajahn Sucitto reflects on timeless philosophical questions through a Buddhist lens; Daniel Woolf reviews François Hartog's new book; and Adam Ferner and Moya Mapps round off their “Experiments in Co-Authorship” column with a discussion of Open AI’s new ChatGPT.