Applying Philosophy

by Harry on December 22, 2008

Anyone who’s going to be at the Eastern Division APA meetings this year shouldn’t miss the Society for Applied Philosophy session “Applying Philosophy” with Virginia Held and Adam Swift. It’s on the Monday morning at 11.15 am. Any session at the APA faces a lot of competition (as you can see from the full program here). But questions about what it means to apply philosophy, especially normative philosophy often arise around here, and I think there is still enough uncertainty about, for example, what non-ideal theorising amounts to and how it relates to ideal theorising, that the session should be excellent, not just for the presentations, but for the ensuing discussion, if enough people attend.



Ingrid Robeyns 12.22.08 at 8:36 pm

Since many of us CT readers are intersted in these issues but won’t be able to attend: will the papers be posted online?

btw, I don’t think the quality of a discussion depends on the size of the audience, but rather on the quality of the participants. I’ve been in very small audiences (as small as 5 or 6 people) with a great discussion, and in larger audiences (20, 30, or more people) with a shallow discussion. So far I don’t think there is any significant positive correlation between the size of the audience and the quality of the discussion, at least after you cross a treshhold which may lie around, say, 5 people.


harry b 12.22.08 at 10:10 pm

Yes, I fiddled with the language to try and imply what you said, but couldn’t do it without coming off as elitist! If 6 people who’ve thought about it attend, that would be brilliant. I’ll bug them to post the papers, and will add some thoughts of my own soon.


HH 12.22.08 at 10:13 pm

In the Smacking the Forehead with the Flat of One’s Hand Department:

The philosophical position that one should be rigorously honest and truthful in personal conduct and in public affairs begs for application to the corrupt modern business and political communities. Since abundant Internet mechanisms exist for a radical increase of transparency in all institutional activities, this bit of philosophy can be very easily applied.

Were Obama’s public works programs to include construction of monuments to the obvious, this would be a prominent one.


dr. doctrine 12.23.08 at 3:16 am

Society for Applied Philosophy session “Applying Philosophy”


Society for Applied Philosophy session “Applying Plumbing Principles and Procedures to Financial Instrument Failures”


Society for Applied Philosophy session “1001 Uses for Cheez Whiz For the Upcoming Depression”



Glen Tomkins 12.27.08 at 5:22 pm

The implications are staggering

If there’s a Society for Applied Philosophy, that implies that there must be such a thing as Non-Applied Philosophy. Further, it implies that Non-Applied Philosophy is the dominant mode of philosophy, or the Applied Philosophy folks wouldn’t need a sectarian split-off in the form of their own Society.

This situation is highly disturbing to my philosophy.

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