Pli invites submissions for its 35th volume:

 

Critique of Academic Philosophy

 

The suspicion that something is off with institutionalised philosophy is part and parcel of the history of philosophy. Plato blamed sophists of being “traders of false knowledge” and “athletes in a sport of words.” For Hobbes, philosophical faculties were established to teach students “the trick of imposing what they list upon their readers” by inventing “distinctions that signify nothing, but serve only to astonish the multitude of ignorant men.” Schopenhauer for his part denounced “university philosophy” for “constantly having in mind the fear of the Lord, the will of the ministry, the dogmas of the established Church, the wishes of the publisher, approval from students, the camaraderie of colleagues, the course of current politics, the momentary tendency of the public, and who knows what else.” 

Did they put their fingers on aspects of academia that resonate with us today?  

The next issue of Pli is going to explore the connection between philosophical thought and its institutional context. At its most basic, the question contributors are asked to investigate is: What happens to philosophy when it becomes academic philosophy? Academics are trained to accept academia as the natural habitat for thinking, critical thinking even. Here, we want to turn the tables and consider contemporary academia and everything that comes with it – subdisciplines, jargon, journals, peer-review, citation indexes, impact factors, conferences, campus life, schmoozing, animosities, backstabbing, grants, funding, fads, and fashions – as itself a problem for argumentative thought. Academic criticism cannot replace criticism of academia. 

We encourage contributions on all related topics. Contributors might want to discuss: 

  • disciplinary divides, such as the separation of analytic and continental philosophy; 
  • institutional mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion; 
  • the dominance of particular schools of thought, in specific areas or in the discipline at large; 
  • academic language, jargon, and bullshitting; 
  • issues in philosophical methodology and argumentation (e.g., thought experiments, reliance on intuitions, falsificationism, transcendental arguments, phenomenological research, etc.); 
  • the essay as the standard format for argumentative philosophy; 
  • the hermetic nature of academic debates; 
  • intellectual tribalism; 
  • academia as a racket;  
  • salaried thinking and the principle of “not biting the hand that feeds one”; 
  • external pressures on philosophical research; 
  • criticisms of academia and institutionalised philosophy in the history of thought; 
  • contemporary criticisms; 
  • class, gender, and race as structural factors of academic philosophy; 
  • possible ways to improve academic philosophy; 
  • contexts of non-academic philosophy and their advantages and disadvantages in comparison to academic philosophy. 

Contributions can take the usual format of an academic paper. However, we also invite submissions that deviate from this convention. Doing philosophy does not naturally terminate in writing a paper. Thoughts can be developed and arguments delivered in a multitude of ways and mediums, e.g., narrative genres, dialogues, films, podcasts, songs, digital ephemera, online games, cartoons, etc. While Pli is chiefly published in print, the upcoming issue will include multimedia QR codes to contributions that don’t lend themselves to the print-format.  

The deadline for submissions is 15 August 2023. Contributions should be no longer than 8,000 words (or equivalent for non-text based media), prefaced by an abstract, and sent by email to plijournal@warwick.ac.uk as a Word, ODT, or RTF file. 

Before submitting an article, please ensure you have read the Notes for Contributors at https://plijournal.com/notes-for-contributors/ 

For questions, please contact plijournal@warwick.ac.uk or the editors. 

Raffaele Grandoni (raffaele.grandoni@warwick.ac.uk)
Simon Gansinger (simon.gansinger@warwick.ac.uk)