Philosophy In The 20th Century -|- Educational Philosophy Theory

Philosophy In The 20th Century

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Philosophy in our time enters into a phase of irreversible decline. In all the trends of modern Western philosophy, one looks in vain for a single idea that has not been expressed long ago, and far better by others. Bourgeois philosophy has withered on the vine. It has nothing new or meaningful to say. For that very reason, it is justly subject to universal contempt, or, more accurately, indifference.

Here again the baneful effects of the extreme division of labour make themselves felt with a vengeance. Isolated in their ivory towers, the academics pass their lives writing obscure theses which are read, and sometimes answered, by other academics. Few people understand what they write. Fewer still care a damn. Like some antiquated priest-caste with its own secret language, comprehensible only to the initiated, they resort to all kinds of symbols and jargon, which seems deliberately designed not to be understood. Here, however, the comparison ends. The mysterious utterances of the priests were taken in deadly earnest by most people. Now the only ones who pay the slightest attention are other philosophers, who, after all must earn a living somehow or other.

Long ago, Joseph Dietzgen said that official philosophy was not a science, but a safeguard against socialism. No matter how indignantly they deny it, professional philosophers have been enlisted by the defenders of the status quo as allies in the struggle against Marxism. This was particularly blatant in the period of the Cold War, but it still remains true. There is nothing new in this, either. Ever since Marxism emerged as a significant force, challenging the existing order, the Establishment has declared war on every aspect of Marxist ideology, starting with dialectical materialism. The very mention of Marxism is guaranteed to provoke a knee-jerk reaction in such circles. "Out of date," "unscientific," "disproved long ago," "metaphysics," and all the rest of the threadbare and tiresome litany.

Not only are Marx and Engels persona non grata in the hallowed halls of the philosophy department, but poor old Hegel, who was once hailed as the philosopher’s philosopher par excellence, is subjected to a quite shameful conspiracy of silence. This situation is not only a reflection of material interests, which soon convince all but the bravest souls that it is not wise to offend those who provide the grants and control careers. It is also that they do not like to be reminded of the fact that there was once a time when philosophers actually had something profound and important to say about the real world.

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