The Social Relevance of Philosophy: The Debate over the Applicability of Philosophy to Citizenship
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Can philosophy be socially relevant? Dating back to Socrates' Apology, and beyond Marx's argument that pure philosophical theory without practical application was unattainable, philosophers have had many diverse views about their work, including that it is indispensable, that it is socially irrelevant, and even that it is harmful. Tracing the controversy through history, this book examines eleven philosophers' arguments concerning the question of the social relevance of philosophy, placing each thinker in the appropriate cultural and historical context. Colleen Flewelling focuses particularly on the Frankfurt School, as their program was aimed at producing a socially relevant theory. She suggests that philosophical theory and practice are, in fact, interconnected and that, if properly understood, some forms of philosophy can be socially relevant. The Social Relevance of Philosophy provides a concise, yet thorough, history of the debate on philosophy's role in society. It is essential reading for students and professional philosophers alike.