The American Evasion of Philosophy

Also, given that one’s reality is more a matter of an evolving consciousness and ontological condition than anything else, it follows that the veracity of the entire body of one’s intellectual work cannot be determined or set into stone at any one particular or specific point in time. Certain observers and bystanders will seek to take a “wait and see” approach towards an intellectual’s observations and work, thinking that eventually, the observations and the work of the intellectual can be deemed either true or false in order to discredit and humiliate the intellectual down the road. But at least in my case, if you look back at the entirety of the points I have made since my book publication in 2018 until now, the points I made were either true or fluid, but not necessarily false. 

Moreover, some things are true and valid at a certain point in time and are then untrue and invalid later on, which is why certain theories either evolve or are replaced. Or, some things are untrue and invalid at a certain point in time but are then proven to be true and valid later on, which is why fluidity, flexibility, and open-mindedness are superior over strict dogmatism, intransigence, and rigidity.

As mentioned before, the truly American mode of philosophy and worldly outlook which stands in stark contrast to the cruel and chaotic neoliberalism of this day and age is known as “Pragmatism.” Essentially, American pragmatism seeks to strike a fine balance between philosophy, religion, and science, whereas the prevailing neoliberal ideology of recent decades is void of such a balance. Perhaps the three most well-known and famous American pragmatists are William James, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty, all three of whom I have referenced through the course of my blog writing. And as Cornel West noted: “Although American pragmatism is widely regarded as the distinctive American philosophy, it has never been hegemonic in the academic profession of philosophy.”

Because of its non-hegemonic character and its lack of influence – despite being both engaged and public – American pragmatism has garnered a limited following in the academic world, and as Cornel West noted: “American pragmatism did not gain a large following in the higher echelons of the academy.”

Cornel West noted three reasons for why American pragmatism was unable to take hold over the American academy. For one, American pragmatism has “anti-professional implications” which essentially scare the academy out of its “wholesale incorporation into the academy.” Second, the academy in America is infatuated with appearance and “symbolic logic” rather than with anything that is deep and substantive. And third, the American academy sought an impossible “rigor, purity, precision, and seriousness” whereas American pragmatism appeared to most in the academy as “vague and muddleheaded.” 

And as Allan Bloom noted, the cruel and chaotic neoliberal approach to the liberal arts and social sciences which stands as the status quo approach in the American academy has cultural and social costs both for individuals and for society as a whole:

“There is no organization of the sciences, no tree of knowledge. Out of chaos emerges dispiritedness, because it is impossible to make a reasonable choice. Better to give up on liberal education and get on with a specialty in which there is at least a prescribed curriculum and a prospective career. On the way the student can pick up in elective courses a little of whatever is thought to make one cultured.”

Bloom added:

“The student gets no intimation that great mysteries might be revealed to him, that new and higher motives of action might be discovered within him, that a different and more human way of life can be harmoniously constructed by what he is going to learn.”

Thus, it is this disenchantment and disillusionment with the status quo in international society as a whole which is then reflected in the overall life of the American academy, as demonstrated by Bloom’s insights well before his insights, one must note, began to manifest their true level of veracity. 

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