Writing Metaphilosophy

I’m often drawn to write metaphilosophical papers. This is a problem in graduate school. Professors don’t seem interested in analysis of a philosophical project. They don’t care if the project seems confused, or if there are grounding issues in a particular view. They want me to engage in discourse with the philosopher about the view at hand. They want me to poke and prod into the logic, the missing links in argument, the troublesome consequences. These things don’t interest me much. I’m more interested in the logic being used, the foundations of views, and what’s being said behind the argument (behind the curtain).

Philosophy is about people. I’m interested in people above all else. I’m interested in authors, what they’re thinking, what they’re up to, why they say what they say. I’m interested in motivations, confusions, implicit premises, and presuppositions in philosophical writing. To most professors in my department, I’ve simply left the realm of philosophy when I ask questions concerning the latter. I’ve somehow missed the mark. I don’t know why this is.

The kind of philosophy that matters to me is the kind that speaks. It is not dead, but it is alive in some way. The author pours himself into the work. The author is somehow present in the paper. There is a richness that transcends the words on the page. The technical papers in the modern literature seem to be dead. They have some things to say, and then move on. They wish to win the argument. Winning is everything.

This is a cynical view of philosophy in its current form. I hope I am misguided and downright wrong. The department I find myself in has brought this worry to me, and I fear the situation abounds in most other schools as well. I’m constantly trying to find some middle ground between what I want to write and how I’m supposed to write. Most times I fall flat. I find my thinking has been locked into this form. I hope to find my middle ground soon… Term papers are approaching.

~ by Barky on May 10, 2012.

One Response to “Writing Metaphilosophy”

  1. I recognize myself in this situation… I hope you find a way to write what you want to write!

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