Thursday, 22 January 2009

Mark Bold's startling [& very entertaining] expose of a pop philosopher

Warming up to [hopefully] tomorrow's post on "extreme tourism", I have to highlight this excellent blog post about a figure who exhibits many of the vices, and few of the virtues, of the independent researcher. It is not the first time I've mentioned the author in question on this blog. Regarding his network of readers, to whom numerous works have been cleverly niche marketed over many years, it seems plausible that they could share many of the characteristics Randall Collins talks about in The Sociology of Philosophies. Collins says there is a theory of network "submergence", as well as "emergence", by which we might understand how disenchanted figures drop out of formal curricula to develop their own positions. These may typically, although not exclusively, involve the adoption of arcane/marginal epistemologies such as the occult, or a hard as flint political philosophy that is not intended to transcend party level.

From what I can tell, there are some important questions that would need to be brought to the table when negotiating the kind of rapprochement I intimated in my previous post, (which I hope to explore further in the "extreme tourism" post) i.e. how is philosophy defined for sociological purposes?

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