Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
There are three central orientations, or modes, forming a “tripod” as it were, that grounds philosophy as a cultural activity. The two commonly known modes are, first philosophical geniuses who make models of reality in their “solitary burrows” (such as a Kant and Peirce); and, second, philosophical wanderers who have an embodied praxis, performing wisdom wherever they travel (such as Diogenes of Sinope and Takuan Soho). There is however another primary and largely neglected mode of philosophy which is mutually reinforced ethical praxis rooting in a shared cosmopolitan place. In this dissertation, I characterize and defend the neglected mode of philosophy, that I call “philosophical community,” by describing the constellation of metaethical principles — general, axiological, cultural, and dialectical — that articulate and promote its values. My philosophical methodology is radically empirical philosophy of culture. The principles will be drawn from an interpretation of the whole of philosophical communal experience, considered diachronically, or globally and historically. These principles are then organized as a synchronic (present focused) coordinate whole. By “principle,” at the very least, I mean a hypothetical ground presupposed in successful inquiry. I take “community” in the broad, Roycean spirit of those relationships that build an increasing determinacy of meaning in the universe, (i.e. a community of interpretation). A philosophical community, then, is not reducible to a collection of people but can be thought of as made of a special kind of community of interpretation, as it shares some sort of place. Taken together, this constellation of principles can help us refine for ourselves a vision of the best of philosophical community life, which should also help us frame a new “brocard” for this mode of philosophy in the twenty-first century.
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