International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 22, Issue 1, Spring 2008

Steven P. Lee
Pages 13-18

Is Public Philosophy Possible?

Do philosophers have an obligation to public philosophy, that is, do they owe the pubic an effort to explain their work in a form that the public can understand and make use of? A prior question is whether public philosophy is possible, and this question is open because the role of the public philosopher may not be a possible role in our society. In Plato’s view, public philosophy was not possible in a democracy, as the only role for public philosophy was in a society in which philosophers were rulers. But the differences between our conception of democracy and Plato’s may show that his view of the social fate of the potential philosopher in a democracy does not hold for us.