KArthur Schopenhauer had a good hair in the academic philosophy of his time. Philosophy received a “public existence” as a subject at the university; this enables many “young and capable minds” to get to know her, he concedes in the “Parerga and Paralipomena”. But this advantage outweighs the disadvantage that state-run “catheter philosophers” act “on behalf of the government” instead of doing “free truth research”. For Schopenhauer this ultimately meant: in harmony with the national religion.
Such state piety will not be easily accused of academically institutionalized philosophy today. The libertas philosophandi As a freedom of research and teaching, it has long since become the natural business basis for science as a whole. The anti-academic affect, which can nevertheless – and apparently at any time – be activated against the university philosophy, is therefore looking for other points of attack. He finds them, for example, in their alleged or actual incomprehensibility or being alien to life or even believing in science.
With his suspicion of intellectual commissioned work, Schopenhauer – customer-oriented antiquists in mind – also aimed at an impending market conformism of thought. He was inclined to believe that it would be “more healing” for philosophy if it stopped “being a business” at all and not “represented by professors”. He spoke not only of the private scholar who did not have an academic career, but also of the heir to private assets that saved him from having to philosophize for the purpose of earning a living. A sincere aversion to every easement of thinking will still be allowed to be taken away from the wayward grumbler.
The Philosophy Slam is one of them today
Schopenhauer’s, so to speak, pious wish has not been fulfilled. Philosophy has not stopped being a profession and being taught by professors. And it is also operated as a trade, it can be carried to the market, be it in the form of so-called consumer magazines or popular philosophy books, the spectrum of which ranges from offered life coaching to the history of biographical education program. The staging of think festivals (including the obligatory “Philosophy Slam”), which embraces event culture, also belongs to this phenomenon.
What Schopenhauer put into a sack without a lot of feather reading to punch at, academic philosophy and marketable philosophy could of course also be differentiated more precisely. A good half a century before him, Kant put forward some pretty considerations that should be read against the background of the “late-enlightenment” discussions at the time about the possibilities and limits of popular philosophy: as an attempt to mediate or, more correctly, to avoid two extremes. In his logic lecture, Kant speaks of “two variations of the prevailing taste”, namely “pedantry and gallantry” when discussing the question of how scientific or philosophical knowledge should be taught. They run the sciences (including philosophy) “only for the school”, this one, the gallantry, “only for dealing with the world”.