Reference : Rigor or rhetoric: Public philosopher and public in dialogue
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Paper published in a journal
Arts & humanities : Philosophy & ethics
Rigor or rhetoric: Public philosopher and public in dialogue
Burks, Deven mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
Perspectives: international postgraduate journal of philosophy
University College Dublin
Dublin Graduate Conference 2018
from 04-05-2018 to 05-05-2018
Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin
[en] public philosophy ; rhetoric ; Brian Leiter
[en] Brian Leiter (2016) throws down two gauntlets to philosophers engaged in dialogue with the broader public. If, with the first, public philosophers recognize that they cannot offer substantive answers but only sophisticated method, they nevertheless fail to realize that said method does not resonate with the very public whom they purport to help. For, with the second, that method does not engage the emotivist and tribalist cast of contemporary public discourse: emotivist because a person’s moral and political beliefs are a function of emotional attitudes or affective responses for which she adduces reasons post hoc; tribalist because the person tracks not the inferential relation between beliefs but her similarity with interlocutors. In order to understand the full extent of this critique, it is necessary, first, to parse strands of public philosophy, distinct discursive sites, and pictures of philosophical practice and, then, to probe the critique’s empirical groundedness and intended scope. These elements in place, it is then possible to sketch public philosophy reconceived along Leiter’s lines as equal part rigor and rhetoric. That sketch may be somewhat filled out through two tactics employed in Jeffrey Stout’s (2004, 2010) work. These form part of a toolkit for philosophical dialogue whereby philosophers get a discursive grip on non-discursive factors underlying public discourse and push back on Leiter's dilemma.

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