Alice Bell is spot on when she says philosopher Nina Power’s questions for her field are relevant to all disciplines. Particularly at a time when the sector seems to be willingly carving itself up by presumed institutional brand, it is probably only the disciplines that can mount a serious challenge. Funding policy seems formulated to reinforce those lines of division, even while claiming to be championing collaboration.
The issue about linking people’s critical questions with the questions that have preoccupied philosophers for generations gets to the heart of disciplinary purpose. All enquiry is purposeful but how far do we inspect those purposes? Do we assume any form of public purpose means public engagement, a bolt-on at the end – or can we reimagine it as integral to the enquiry itself?
A table at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre coffee shop. No, I don’t know what it means either.
The latest episode of Brain Train is up – the podcast I work on where we get academics to quiz other academics – this time with autism researcher Johanna Finneman interviewing philosopher Nina Power. I think my favourite bit is where Power stands up for the right of philosophers to be “a little bit annoying”. As much as I am a philosopher (and I’d say I’m roughly 15% philosopher, albeit a self-hating one most of the time) I very much ascribe to that.
The format’s designed so each episode an academic interviews another about their work, then in the next episode the interviewee becomes the interviewer (and the expert becomes the novice) and so on. At the end of each episode we also ask the interviewee (the expert) what questions they have for their own field. These are Power’s, for…
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