“The Profession of Philosophy” with Brian Leiter


Episode 15:

Originally broadcast: April 15, 2010

Plagued with technical difficulties, the first two thirds of this episode features host Jack Russell Weinstein offering his thoughts on the topic, responding to internet questions, and meditating on his own experiences as a philosophy professor. Brian Leiter appears for a brief discussion towards the end; we hope to have him on again and apologize to him and to listeners who were looking forward to the extended discussion.

What is the difference between a philosopher and a philosophy professor? What does the world think a philosopher is and how does this square with the philosopher’s own self image? The next episode of Why?looks closely at the philosopher’s job, exploring both the perennial question of its relevance and the tremendously competitive hiring process that almost every professional philosopher must endure. Join guest Brian Leiter for an insider’s look at the profession of philosophy, and a discussion about the future of the discipline: where is philosophy now, how has it changed, and how will it evolve over the next decades?

Brian Leiter founded the University of Chicago Law School’s Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values when he joined their faculty in July 2008. His teaching and research interests are in philosophy of law, moral and political philosophy, and Continental philosophy. Most pertinently, he is the gatekeeper to philosophy’s official unofficial rankings, maintaining “The Philosophical Gourmet” an annually updated list of the most prestigious graduate programs. He also maintains three blogs, one on Nietzsche, one on law school, and “The Leiter Reports,” a compendium of professional news, issues in the profeson, and news clippings related to philosophy as a discipline and as a career. His scholarly books include Objectivity in Law and Morals, Nietzsche on Morality, The Future for Philosophy, Naturalizing Jurisprudence: Essays on American Legal Realism and Naturalism in Legal Philosophy, and The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy. Leiter holds an AB from Princeton University, and a JD and PhD in philosophy from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Why?’s host Jack Russell Weinstein says, “Obviously, the profession of philosophy is always on my mind, but what happens when we explore it philosophically? What do we learn by turning the philosophical lens on ourselves? I’m excited to have Brian here to ask some of the most basic questions of all: how do philosophers make their money and are they of use to anyone at all.”

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