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The Notion of Philosophical Knowledge and the Situation of Philosophy Today

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In this volume, scholars in the human sciences from different countries examine the meaning of philosophical knowledge today. The answer to the question of what is philosophical knowledge is not self-evident because of different cultural traditions in which national philosophies are situated. Thus philosophical knowledge can be understood as knowledge of history of philosophy, or of philosophical systems, schools and methodologies; or it can be seen as the ability to solve philosophical problems. Sometimes philosophical investigations affect not philosophy alone, but extend to other disciplines. One significant fact is that the problem of philosophical knowledge is not restricted to the theory of philosophy, but reflects the situation in philosophy itself, as well as the status of philosophy among other human sciences and its social prestige in general. Whether we still need philosophy today, in the period of total austerity, will depend upon what criteria we use to define the image of philosophy and its knowledge. On the other hand, the concerns about philosophy today – diagnosed in the present volume – are not merely intra-disciplinary; they are decisive for social outcomes in the world of today. These social outcomes – for educational curricula, for the position of women and minorities, for the political process and the formation of civil society – are the focus of the papers in this issue. In its totality, the issue offers an overview of the contemporary situation in philosophy in different countries in the ‘new’ Europe, which allows reflection about the differences and general tendencies in its development.

Affiliations: 1: University Marburg,


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