What can philosophy do?

Join Professor Amie Thomasson, recently named one of the 50 most influential living philosophers, for a discussion on the state of philosophy today, and to ask the question: what can philosophy still do that is useful and relevant?

Philosophy was once thought to tell us deep truths about the world and what it is like. Many philosophers today still embrace this ‘discovery’ model. But this way of thinking is hazardous. It leads to the impression that philosophy is a rival to science in the search for knowledge—a rivalry that philosophy seems bound to lose. However, there is an alternative. On this alternative pragmatic vision, philosophy is not a method of discovering reality, but a tool for transforming and re-evaluating the ways we think and talk. This vision retains the idea that philosophy is useful and important—for how we speak and think about the world really matters to what we do and how we live.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 17 July 2018.


Amie Thomasson is Daniel P. Stone Professor in Intellectual and Moral Philosophy, Dartmouth College, and Anderson Distinguished Fellow at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Ontology made Easy (which won the Sanders Book Prize), Ordinary Objects, and Fiction and Metaphysics. She was recently named one of the 50 most influential living philosophers.


Image (at top): Fortunato Depero, Skyscrapers and Tunnels (Gratticieli e tunnel), 1930 (detail)

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