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It is a useful exercise to reflect, sometimes, on the way philosophy is carried out, and on how we think philosophy should be carried out in the future. We need to accept that academia is undergoing some important changes, which means that academic philosophy is also changing. The aim of this article is to discuss what gives philosophy its legitimacy in Norway. I will argue that the justification for having philosophy in Norway, in one way or the other, must be that it has societal value. In this respect, I believe that teaching and public outreach are philosophy's most important areas of focus. Even though I mainly concentrate on academic philosophy in Norway, much of what I say is relevant for understanding the legitimacy of academic philosophy in other countries.
Denne artikkelen gir en kort gjennomgang av arbeidsmarkedet for norske filosofer og vektlegger noen av de største problemene filosofer i dag står overfor innen akademia og arbeidslivet for øvrig. Jeg relaterer problemene på arbeidsmarkedet (for kandidater på høyere og lavere akademisk nivå) til svakheter innen utdanningssystemet og akademisk publisering. Avslutningsvis tar jeg til orde for en styrking av doktorgradskursene, samt en satsning på filosofi i skolen.
This paper gives a brief overview of the labour market for Norwegian philosophy candidates, emphasising the main problems these candidates face in the labour market (within academia and elsewhere). The problems in the job market are then related to weaknesses in the Norwegian university system and to problems associated with academic publishing. I close by suggesting a prioritizing of philosophy in the school system, and by calling for Norwegian Ph.D. courses to be strengthened.
Discussing three issues that are central to philosophical thinking, the article argues that each and every society requires the kind of reflection that philosophy entails. The first issue concerns the claim that we have to give reasons for our assertions, the second addresses the idea and significance of truth, and a third pivotal philosophical question deals with the importance of acknowledging standards of right and justice. It becomes apparent what we would lose if we abandoned, banished, or marginalized philosophical thinking.
Every human being may be said to be a philosopher, endowed with the capacity to reflect on her own life as part of some general worldview or even 'ontology'. With that said, it is not obvious what kind of philosophical training a state-organized, state-funded educational system should support. This paper seeks an answer to this problem in a Kantian understanding of enlightenment: in transcendental philosophy, what corresponds to a formal notion of ontology is reason, and the autonomy of reason is realized in free and equal citizens governing themselves according to their own best judgment. A precondition of such government is a certain general level of rationality and reflection among the populace, a level to be fostered by public philosophy education. This may warrant closer, 'dialogic' ties between teaching and research as the best way for students to develop their capacity for philosophical thinking. It may also favour the taking of a critical stance on the more scientistic approach dominating much of today's mainstream philosophy.
«Hva er det vi egentlig mener når vi sier, mennesket er dødelig?» spør Woody Allen i boken The Insanity Defence. Han legger til: «Det er åpenbart ikke et kompliment.»1Allen, W.: The Insanity Defence: The Complete Prose. New York: Random Hous Trade Paperbacks 2007, s. 262. Jeg tror Woody tar feil her. Vår dødelighet er et kompliment – eller i det minste av det gode – siden livet uten døden ville være katastrofalt. Udødelige liv fører til dyp kjedsomhet, eksistensiell angst og en radikal form for verdinihilistisk tilværelse. Grunnen er at udødeligheten gjør at vi en gang i fremtiden må konfronteres med de radikalt livsfiendtlige stadiene av universets historie. Jeg argumenterer for at dette er en skjebne langt verre enn døden. Konklusjonen blir derfor, med et nikk til Voltaire, at om døden ikke hadde eksistert, hadde vi vært nødt til å finne den opp.
«Exactly what do we mean when we say, ‘Man is mortal’?» Woody Allen asks in The Insanity Defense. He adds: «Obviously it is not a compliment.»2Allen, W.: The Insanity Defence: The Complete Prose. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks 2007, p. 262. If what I say below holds, this is wrong: mortality is a compliment since without it, catastrophe looms. Immortality ends in profound boredom and dread and makes us face the death of all value. It hurls us towards the hostile, boring and nihilistic stages of the universe, and allows fates worse than death. I therefore conclude, with a nod towards Voltaire, that if death did not exist, it would be necessary to invent it.
This paper, on argumentative reason in a modernization-theoretical perspective, is a revised version of a public lecture held at Oslo University College, in memory of Professor Harald Grimen. There are three main points: argumentative reason conceived as self-critical reflection, to be extended to arguments from absurdity – from Apel to Ryle, as it were; argumentative reason conceived as a search for better arguments, ideally with mutual recognition and personal improvement – a meliorist approach; argumentative reason conceived as situated learning-processes, socially and institutionally. In short, a special blend of late-Wittgensteinian praxeology, transcendental-pragmatics and discourse theory, as it is discussed in my writings.