Monday, July 14, 2008

NY Philosophy (and Vacation)

I'm off for about a week beginning Wednesday and thankfully won't have internet access during my travels. So there won't be any new posts until I return.

In the meantime, ponder this: In a conversation today, someone referred to "New York philosophy" in characterizing not a position but a style of argument (or so it seemed). It got me thinking... I think I know what "Cornell realism" is and there's definitely something distinctive about what comes out of Pittsburgh. Is there a distinctively "New York" philosophy? (I think we'd need to include within the scope of "New York" certain parts of Northern New Jersey.) Do Fodor, Bilgrami, Block, Boghossian, Devitt, Kitcher, and co. form a "kind"?

I suppose I could just ask the guy who used the term what he meant, but who cares what he thinks?


imipolex_g-unit said...

Yeah, there's definitely a NY/NJ thing. It's not as distinct as the Pittsburgh thing, but that makes sense given the Pittsburgh thing is largely due to just two dudes. But there's as much a distinctively NY/NJ flavor of philosophizing as there are distinct flavors coming out of Oxbridge and Sydney.

Also, in my totally unbiased opinion as an NY/NJ philosopher, it is clearly the best thing going since the Athenians.

729 said...

Hey, have a great trip!

I think there's a "kind" of NY/NJ philosophy. As Impolex said it's clearly the best thing since the Athenians, certainly surpassing the Vienna Circle, and that rowdy Pittsburgh crowd--fuhgetaboutit! And I say that without bias, too. It may be the take-no-prisoners attitude that marks the "kind," and I can certainly think of some folks, no longer in NY, who do Justice to their roots.

Spiros said...

It seems natural enough that certain philosophical positions are marked by geographical names: Australian materialism, for instance, or Oxford philosophy of language. But it doesn't seem to me that there's a *position* (or even a set of concerns) that can be characterized as "New York philosophy." But perhaps there is, as 729 suggests, an aggressiveness to it all that's distinctive. I don't know....

729 said...

Nah, Spiros, I guess you wouldn't know anything about that, would you????

Spiros said...

Who, me???

BTW: I had a meeting the other day that unexpectedly turned hostile. This put me instantly into gloves-off attack mode. Minutes later, I waked out of the room, soaked in the intellectual blood of my defeated foes, and with a degree of satisfaction that some would call excessive.