Philosophy for Everyone: Considerations on the Lack of Diversity in Academic Philosophy

Author(s)Nic R. Jones
Thematic Cluster/Special IssueDiversity in Philosophy
AbstractThe lack of diversity in academic philosophy has been well documented. This paper examines the reasons for this issue, identifying two intertwining norms within philosophy which contribute to it: the assertion that the Adversary Method is the primary mode of argumentation and the excessive boundary policing surrounding what constitutes “real” philosophy. These norms reinforce each other, creating a space where diverse practitioners must defend their work as philosophy before it can be engaged with philosophically. Therefore, if we are to address the diversity issue, these norms must change. I advocate for the community of philosophical inquiry to serve as a new standard of practice, as it requires a simultaneous reimagining of both norms, thereby addressing the issues that arise from the two elements working in tandem. With its emphasis on epistemic openness and constructive collaboration, and a broader definition of philosophy which conceptualizes it as a method of questioning/analyzing rather than a particular subject matter, I posit that its implementation would facilitate a more welcoming climate for diverse practitioners. While these changes are unlikely to solve the diversity problem “once and for all,” I argue that they would significantly help to improve it.
Keywordsprofessional philosophy, diversity, adversary method, community of philosophical inquiry, epistemic openness
Date Published 2020
Google Scholar Link,5
Open Access?Yes

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