The MWS Podcast 90: Adam Briggle on when philosophy lost its way

My guest today is Adam Briggle, who is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Texas. He is the author of A Rich Bioethics, co-author of Ethics and Science: An Introduction, and author of A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking. He recently had a joint article with the philosopher Robert Frodeman published in the New York Times entitled When Philosophy Lost its Way and this will be the topic of our discussion.

If you’d like to find out more about Adam and Robert Frodeman’s work, check out their website

MWS Podcast 90: Adam Briggle as audio only:
Download audio: MWS_Podcast_90_Adam_Briggle

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About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

One thought on “The MWS Podcast 90: Adam Briggle on when philosophy lost its way

  1. A great podcast which I very much enjoyed, with focused questions and eloquent responses. I will have a look at the book when it comes out.

    There is an ongoing question of what philosophy should look like, which I think it is the responsibility of those (like Adam and myself) who criticise the current order to offer positive suggestions about. ‘Field Philosophy’ is an intriguing suggestion, but from Adam’s account of it I was left unsure of what method it would adopt, and left wondering if it was more of a compromise solution workable under the current academic system in philosophy because in some respects it looks tightly focused. It will be none the worse for focusing on a specific context, but if field philosophers are still unable to address bigger questions because of academic taboos, it may be a limited remedy for the current state of philosophy.

    The remedy I am more inclined to favour for the reform of philosophy is simply to establish alternative institutions which see philosophy as synthetic, sceptical and practical as well as analytic. We can’t wait for the blessing of the current academic system, because it is hamstrung by state bureaucracy, economic pressures, and the limiting effects of a century of over-specialisation. Some tenured academic philosophers do start to explore bigger issues in their maturity, but by then their thinking has already been formed in a particular way that tends to limit their exploration, and creative philosophy from younger people has already been strangled at birth. I do think that there is potential support for alternative philosophical institutions from a wider public who overwhelmingly see mainstream philosophy as irrelevant, but nevertheless show a good deal of interest in philosophical questions that can be shown to impact their lives.

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