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Philosophical AmericaIn a 1908 essay On Certain Limitations
of the Thoughtful the Thoughtful Public in America the American philosopher Josiah Royce took issue with those who denied the character of much of the American public Royce said when foreigners accuse us of extraordinary ove for gain and of practical materialism they fail to see how argely we are a nation of idealists Royce proceeded to explain that by idealist he did not mean a commitment to a philosophical doctrine but rather a man or woman who is consciously and predominantly guided in the purposes and in the great choices of Life By Large Ideals Such by arge ideals such admit of no merely material embodiment and such as contemplate no merely private and personal satisfaction as their goal In this sense Royce found considerable idealism in the Puritans the Declaration of Independence the Civil On page 262 Romano talks about how Anthony Storr helpfully thumbnails the theories of each of his thinkers in Feet of Clay but it struck me that this phrase neatly summarizes America the Philosophical itself Luckily for me this thumbnailing was exactly the sort of thing I was ooking for in order to distract myself during these uarantined months Granted I m still in need of a Virgil to guide me through the contours of 20th century continental philosophy but I figured Romano would be a good start and uckily French figures such as Foucault do make an appearance Anyways the title was clear enough this book is about America and all of its uniue varieties of philosophy as conducted by the Harvard elites the Bill Moyers the Hugh Hefners the Susan Sontags marginalized groups and so onFor this purpose America the Philosophical really is an excellent read Romano has a punchy writing style which reflects his years as a book critic for the The Philadelphia Inuirer and the book reads ike an extended New Yorker piece although I m sure Romano himself would pooh pooh such an attribution and insist that The Chronicle of Higher Education is a favorable comparison Anyhow this sort of fawning preoccupation with publishers is a constant throughout America the Philosophical and Romano makes repeated reference of how person X wrote a book published by Y Among the many things I earned from reading this I now know that Knopf is a very good publisher and that we all should be impressed that Romano s book is of that stockAlthough this sort of pretentiousness occludes the warmer aspects of America the Philosophical it portends a problematic core that ultimately earns the book its middling marks in my mind Because although Romano wears the hat of a journalist uite comfortably which makes him the perfect evening entertainment for the dentist from Scarsdale who wants Rorty thumbnailed over a glass of Scotch he also walks the halls of academe and thus feels compelled to bend and twist America the Philosophical to serve some grand thesis And what is this grand thesis It s that America really is uite philosophical if you think of New Yorkers yelling at each other in traffic as philosophy I joke of course but to this point Romano tries to anticipate the criticism that America the Philosophical threatens to make Howard Stern our Plato Michael Moore our Kant by instead insisting that Isocrates which he assures us in the title of Part 5 is a man not a typo is our Socrates Luckily this thesis doesn t occupy much of the book and you only need to tolerate the whiplash of the ast 70 pages where he bends back an otherwise intelligible arc to Ancient Greece before snapping forward to a self refuting hagiography of John Rawls and a drooling homage to Barack Obama as philosopher in chiefBut never mind all that I came here for the thumbnails and not the thesis and although Romano spends too much time wielding his groan inducing pun cil he makes for a reliable cartographer of American philosophy and helps humanizes his subjects for a somewhat wider audience Moving the Goalposts Alright that s it I uit At 350 pages nothing ike a claim or thesis has emerged instead the first half of America the Philosophical offers a series of chapter Doctor Sleep length snapshots of American intellectual history among Dead White Meniving white men self help uacks Hugh Hefner African Americans womenand ueer folks Carlin Romano s analyses of philosophical and Karma's A Sexy Bitch: Choose Your Own Erotic Fantasy Adventure literary ideas are good but slight and thereinies the problem you d be better served just reading actual full Mythological Beasts Turned Me Gay: Three Book Collection: (Mythology Erotica) length texts and surveys of American philosophy as practiced by Dead White Meniving white men women people of color and so forth rather than push out unwieldy 80 page chapters that say too much to stick with the book s theme and too This All Encompassing Trip: Chasing Pearl Jam Around The World little to stand on their own as insightful reading Not to be completely defeated by this book though I did take some time toook ahead and at east scan where Romano eventually goes And then it gets weird Judging from what I saw Romano s agenda is to argue that Ame. A bold insightful book that rejects the myth of America the Unphilosophical arguing that America today towers as the most philosophical culture in the history of the world an unprecedented marketplace of truth and argument that far surpasses ancient Greece or any other place one can nameWith verve and keen intelligence Carlin Romano Pulitzer Prize finalist award winning book critic and professor of philosophy takes on the widely held belief that ours is an anti–intellectual society Instead while providing a richly reported overview of American thought Romano argues that ordinary Americans see through phony philosophical justifications faster than anyone else and that the best of our thinkers abandon artificial academic debates for fresh intellectual en.
PUBLIC IN AMERICA THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHER in America the American philosopher Royce took issue with those who denied the
read America the PhilosophicalIndian philosophers he gave 100 pages to female philosophers and excluded the
Controversial Ward Churchill WeWard Churchill We not ike Mr Churchill s comments but it would have been interesting to read a bit into his philosophy The acclaimed Native American Indian philosopher Vine Deloria Jr only receives a passing mention Why I thoroughly enjoyed the section on female philosophers although I was disappointed that Susan Faludi was not included At the very east she should have received some mention in the chapter on journalistphilosophers The chapters on cyber culture are excellent and very relevant In fact Romano features some cyber thinkers who I will follow closely He concludes the book with a nice take on President Barack Obama s cosmopolitanism and pragmatism but I wish it had been onger America the Philosophical a wonderful read although a bit at times I plan on encouraging my colleagues in the field of international education to read it Romano provides us with a wealth of material and this book will serve as an invaluable resource for the professional and novice philosopher alike Bravo Signore Romano After reading than a third of the book I had to put it down I can accept his argument that philosophy is than what is taught in philosophy classes in college but difficult is his complete denigration of academic philosophy in general He admires Rorty highly which is fine but in the next breath pooh poohs Putnam since he believes Rorty manages to follow in the footsteps of James and Dewey closely Putnam follows the same tradition but because he still worked hard at problems in metaphysics and epistemology Romano doesn t consider him an heir to the early pragmatists While some of his choices of people doing interesting work that Romano considers philosophy are acceptable in my view such as Skinner and C Written by a philosopher but in a journalistic style which almost fits in with his general thesis which is in keeping with the neo pragmatism of Richard Rorty He would ike to broaden the scope of the definition of what counts as philosophy to include a whole host of intellectual activities I am sympathetic to much of his project but I think he pushes it a bit hard There were a few passages that were genuinely fascinating to read but many others that felt The Complete Idiot's Guide to Detoxing Your Body like he was running for a political office He definitely has an agenda here It smacks in parts to be inine with Alasdair MacIntyre s After Virtue in the sense that what counts as philosophy is up to the masses to decide The basic point being that it has been insiders who have defined the discipline and he thinks it shouldn t be up to them This kind of attitude does go back to classical pragmatis John Dewey s hope for philosophy was that it would turn from an investigation of the problems of philosophers to that of the problems of men This is to say Dewey hoped that philosophy done properly would no Silver in the Wood longer concern itself with the uest for certainty a search for certain immutable facts concerning the natures of such things as good or truth as the discipline had done since the days of Socrates and Plato Philosophy would instead be a form of cultural criticism an application of intelligence for the purpose of ameliorating social conditions The result of this would be that Professionalized philosophy as a self standing discipline a Fach would cease to exist Philosophy would stop being a discipline that troubled itself with the abstract uestions that had concerned philosophers This is a very good tour of the mind of the US A former book reviewer Romano makes a strong case that while Sarah Palin exists and academic analytical philosophy may be a dead end insofar as it s struggling to replicate itself or engage the general public the US is a very intellectual even philosophical societyWe all half know this Most of the era defining authors headed to or are products of the American system And if we take Philosophy as than an academic degree inogic and view it an active process of public debate and discussion of ideas then America has a rightful claim to one of the most vibrant philosophical societies on the planetWhile I ike the argument even important for me was the chance to build and extend my interestedmust read author ist Everyone knows the NietzschesKantHumeBerkley s of this world But what about mid ate twentieth century thinkers who are ittle known beyond the academy Or those in the fields of sociology The Second Cure linguistics political theory psychology and so on who have made important dare we say it philosophical contributions to how we understand modernifeIt was an extra pleasure to read this book while in the US but for anyone who has visited the classics and is Essential Andhra Cookbook: With Hyderabadi and Telengana Specialities looking for a new readingist that is engagingly discussed within a The Sorcerer's Apprentice larger argument for the importance and significance of America for the frontiers of thought today this is a welcome addition to your bookshelves. Nd free will Romano reveals a world where public debate and intellectual engagement never stop Readers meet the men and women whose ideas have helped shape Americanife over the previous few centuries from well known historical figures ike William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson to modern cultural critics who deserve to be seen as thinkers Kenneth Burke Edward Said to the iconoclastic African American women Native American and gay mavericks Cornel West Susan Sontag Anne Waters Richard Mohr who have broadened the boundaries of American philosophySmart and provocative America the Philosophical is a rebellious tour de force that both celebrates our country’s unparalleled intellectual energy and promises to bury some of our most hidebound cultural clichés. .
Ricans are great philosophersby using a different definition of philosophy Americans as it turns out are the ideological heirs to the somewhat obscure Isocrates precursor to Socrates Plato He encouraged a argumentative pragmatic and utilitarian form of public discourse that didn t rely on rigorous World War Z. La guerra mondiale degli zombi logicike Plato Aristotle By that definition yes Americans are philosophical titans brutish and oud in our public discourse but damn it all if we aren t sincere and sensible as an old shoe The problem here is that this is public discourse not philosophy and I don t just mean that in a snooty ivory tower sense philosophy
takes specific and measured positions on carefully definedspecific and measured positions on carefully defined By moving the goalposts to accommodate self help gurus and CNN Romano ets Middle America into philosophy at the cost of well doing good philosophy And as much as I Who Is Muhammad Ali? love a rousing provocative defense of theow brow it s not worth wading through 600 pages of middling unfocused scholarship to get there I rarely uit books halfway through but this time it had to be done Reader Don't Worry, Eat Cake: A Coloring Book to Help You Feel a Little Bit Better about Everything life is short and books areong Pick the right books Good Philosophers Do Not a Culture Make Philosophical boosterism is an unusual enthusiasm especially in someone as articulate and intelligent as Carlin Romano This book was an almost year ong project though that testifies to how much the book has to offer knowledge wise That being said I am both amazed at the sheer amount of research that went into it as well as feeling constantly over my head The book ived up to the premise that philosophical discourse happens daily in this country despite the popular opinion that Americans are mostly idiots Oddly enough the people reviewed in this book are mostly academics and are a part of the higher echelons of intelligent accomplishments which might not have much to do with his claimThose who do not already know of Isocrates will find that chapter or rather a series of short chapters most fascinating I walked away from that happy to know that once again all my best thoughts are stolen by the ancients With America the Philosophical Carlin Romano takes on the ambitious task of establishing the US in the upper echelons of the philosophical tradition Along the way he takes aim at the American Philosophical Association introduces us to some excellent cultural critics and thinkers unknown to those of us outside of philosophy and posits a strong argument in favor of assigning a fundamental role in the development of the American psyche and philosophy to Isocrates 436 338 BC an orator whose concept of philosophy clashed with those of his famous counterparts Aristotle and PlatoThe journey that Mr Romano takes us on is a ong one and ike most trips it can be exasperating at times with some uestionable stops But ultimately we will remember what we most enjoyed about the experience that Mr Romano provides us as he guides us through the American philosophical A Secret Kept landscape What cannot be disputed is how well read the author is I was impressed with the numerous references he made to books that he views as integral components to the foundation of America the Philosophical Iearned uite a bit from this book and there are some thinkers I will ook into with interest as a result of my having read America the Philosophical However there are some concerns I have Mr Romano never really reveals what in his mind are the criteria that define a philosopher or cultural critic I say this because ater in the book I could not reconcile the inclusion of some authors whose background and work did not really fit with what Mr Romano was trying to do I was never really convinced that the eft wing journalist IF Stone 1907 1989 should have been given the amount of attention that he received for his efforts to debunk the stature of Socrates Bill Moyers is another figure that I have great admiration for and whose work in public broadcasting has influenced many people But I had trouble picturing him as a philosopher All we earn about him is that he would The Ancient Greeks: Ten Ways They Shaped the Modern World like to focus on the concept of religion The uestion we should ask is Does this make him a philosopher Romano never answers that uestion It was a nice touch to include the renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell who Moyers interviewed in a groundbreaking session but he should have received much attention Journalists and broadcasters as philosophers is a tough sell and Romano should be commended for his effort but I just cannot see the connection here Another area that I was disappointed in not because ofack of uality but because of the exclusion of certain individuals is the chapter that dealt with philosophers from underrepresented groups Ample text is given to African American philosophers rightly so but there is no mention of Hispanic philosophers Someone Tricycle (HISTOIRE) like Richard Rodr guez could easily have made thisist Further Romano only devotes seven pages to Native American. Terprises such as cyber philosophy Along the way Romano seeks to topple philosophy’s most fiercely admired hero Socrates asserting that it is Isocrates the nearly forgotten Greek philosopher who rejected certainty whom Americans should honor as their intellectual ancestor America the Philosophical introduces readers to a nation whose existence most still doubt a dynamic deeply stimulating network of people and places drawn together by shared excitement about ideas From the annual conference of the American Philosophical Association where scholars tack wiseguy notes addressed to Spinoza on a public bulletin board to the eruption of philosophy blogs where participants discuss everything from pedagogy to the philosophy of science to the nature of agency ,