In our modern times, are there still professional philosophers? I mean, back in the day, you had folks like Plato and Socrates and Aristotle… even more recently, you had Descartes and Satre… what about today? Are there still philosophers? Have they all become theologians, scientists, and authors? I guess maybe philosophers were always authors, but seems to me there is a difference between what Socrates did and what Carl Marx or Anne Rand (is that her name?) did. And if they still exist, who pays them? Are philosophy professors at college the closest we get to the ancient tradition anymore
It is Ayn Rand.
I think you will find most of today’s philosophers are college professors or writers or both. They need to do something to make money and it is usually teach or write or both.
Why do you see a difference between what Marx and Rand did and what Plato and others did?
Admittedly I might just be naive, but it seems to me that the ancient Greeks really just sat around and thought about great questions. Actually, as I think about it, I believe that they used to go on a tour of sorts, and in exchange for room and board for the night, they would debate grand theories with you into the wee hours of the day. This is not something you see modern philosophers doing.
(NOTE TO CECIL I would be more than happy to provide you with room and board for the night if you want to come over and answer all my questions).
They generally have long beards (to their knees even), and posters of Rasputin in their offices.
There certainly are.
A lot of modern philosophy has to do with the nature of consciousness, the meaning of artificial intelligence, the moral and ethical problems of genetic engineering and cloning, and other modern political and social issues.
I have several books by Will Durant, a rather prolific contemporary “pop” philosopher. He and his wife are very good at making philosophy – classical, modern, and contemporary – more accessible to the average reader. I recommend you start with some of their surveys of philosophical issues.
I also recommend Daniel Dennet, if you’re curious about the issues of consciousness and artificial intelligence. While I don’t always agree with his conclusions, his style is quite entertaining.
Any particular title you would recomend? Sounds like something I would enjoy.
Wel there are unemployed philosophers (says Celyn, sadly) Oh, I am sure the only reason I cannot be a professional philosopher is, as has already been noted, one might need a beard.
(Used to joke about that as a student way back when, till I realised that there was only one female lecturer in my Phil. Dept., and she then very quickly died. :eek:
Celyn the not Bearded Lady
Lots of philosophers worked as teachers.
Plato founded the Academy, a school in Athens. One of his students was Aristotle.
Aristotle was a tutor to Alexander the Great, as well as founder of the Lyceum.
Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus, to name two, taught at the University of Paris.
Spinoza was unusual in that he ground lenses for a living in Amsterdam.
Peter Singer is one philosopher who has a lot people raising eyebrows.
Well, the titles I have are The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, and one I can’t find on Amazon called The Pleasures of Philosophy, which I picked up over 20 years ago.
I’d recommend looking over his other Titles on Amazon as well.
It’s important to note that back in ancient Greece the philosopher was a generalist who pretty much took on the role of thinker, scientist, teacher and sometimes agent provocateur (see Aristotle). Since then as civilization has evolved and become more specialized so have these roles, at least in a general sense.
There are still philosophers who make a living at it, most notably professors but also some philosophical authors, and some authors whose works address questions that would be considered philosophy, but wouldn’t necessarily be considered philosophers. Take for example the late Philip K. Dick who was a professional science fiction writer but had a constant theme of “what is it that makes us human?”
One might even make the case that some of the famous self-help gurus are in a way, Philosophers. Deepak Chopra comes to mind.*
*I’m not saying that Deepak = Aristotle, but rather that what Chopra does would be somewhat a kin to what Aristotle did, in his day.