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Philosophy Unmasked 9780700608331

Philosophy Unmasked

A Skeptic's Critique

ISBN-10: 0700608338
ISBN-13: 9780700608331
PUBLISHER: University Press of Kansas
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Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access codes, CDs, DVDs)
Product Description: Philosophers have long grappled with the nature of reality without agreeing on how to go about finding it. Which view is correct: absolutism or perspectivism? How could we ever know?

Philosophy Unmasked is a subtly reasoned polemic that offers a critique and appraisal of analytic philosophy. It advances a metaphilosophical theory that expresses a skepticism about all first-order philosophical theories, contending that philosophy is a subjective enterprise, devoid of facts. Philosophy amounts ultimately to imposing one's values upon the phenomena with which one is confronted.

Calhoun maintains that the academic, pseudo-scientific construction of philosophical "proofs" is misleading. Professional philosophers cite previous work and erect elaborate theoretical structures to persuade their readers; but such practice amounts to no more than seduction, since no one would find any philosopher's argument convincing unless one were predisposed to do so. In addition, academic philosophy has become professionalized to such a degree that skepticism among students is discouraged, and non-philosophers are excluded from dialogue, with the result that contemporary philosophy has become inaccessible and of little relevance to human life.

Interweaving observations on such subjects as art, psychiatry, and science with her own experience in philosophy, Calhoun renders complex ideas comprehensible in a unique style. She reconsiders just what makes some philosophical works "respectable," and, in the Epilogue, contrasts her speculations with the work of Richard Rorty, another thinker who has criticized professional philosophy. According to Calhoun, extricating oneself from 'The Cave' amounts to no more and no less than recognizing the actual nature of what one is doing, and that no one of us mortals has a God's eye view of the world.

Philosophy Unmasked combines theoretical and practical concerns in the manner of the great classical thinkers, offering social criticism in addition to metaphilosophical reflection. It is a provocative critique of the current state of academic philosophy, advancing an outlook that should change the course of professional philosophy for the next century.

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CATEGORY: Philosophy

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