Volume 22, Issue 1, Spring 2008
Steven P. Lee
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.