Is philosophy inherently political?

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Is philosophy inherently political?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

In my other topic, Do you agree with everything in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what is the first sentence with which you disagree?, Rob Carr responded with the following:

Rob Carr wrote: November 12th, 2023, 5:06 am For me my first point is on page 12 "This is not a political book."

Philosophy is inherently political. We all have inbuilt political biases that influence our principles. If we genuinely want to reach across political divides to unite behind a common aim we cannot ignore the natural biases that sit beneath our thoughts. If we ignore them and simply try to focus on higher principles we will unintentionally reflect our personal biases in the principles we espouse. This makes it harder to achieve unanimity.

While I don't agree (at least not yet), I am very intrigued by the claim that "philosophy is inherently political".

So I ask all readers of these forums, what do you think? Is philosophy inherently political?

Is it possible for a book, even just one book in the entire world, to be both philosophical and non-political, or is it true that it's completely 100% impossible for a philosophical book to not also be political?

What if the philosophy book was written by a non-human alien living alone another planet all by himself who never interacted with another person ever? Perhaps that alien lives, writes his book, and dies all before we stumble upon his book. Is the book political? Necessarily so?


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Jay Lu
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Joined: January 8th, 2024, 7:57 pm

Re: Is philosophy inherently political?

Post by Jay Lu »

Whether philosophy is inherently political depends on how we define "political". If "political" broadly refers to all social interactions and human behaviors, then most human philosophy might be political. However, if "political" is understood more narrowly as relating to human governance and societal structures, then theoretically, there could be non-political philosophical works, especially in hypothetical or extraterrestrial contexts. Thus, there's no absolute answer, and different perspectives hold their validity.
Alissa Nesson
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Joined: February 9th, 2024, 6:24 am

Re: Is philosophy inherently political?

Post by Alissa Nesson »

Jay Lu wrote: January 10th, 2024, 3:18 am Whether philosophy is inherently political depends on how we define "political". If "political" broadly refers to all social interactions and human behaviors, then most human philosophy might be political. However, if "political" is understood more narrowly as relating to human governance and societal structures, then theoretically, there could be non-political philosophical works, especially in hypothetical or extraterrestrial contexts. Thus, there's no absolute answer, and different perspectives hold their validity.
I agree with what you say here. It really depends on what you mean by “political” because the word has different implications depending on what we’re talking about. If we’re going with a broader definition of “political”, then speaking of anything that has to do with human behaviors and the way we treat or think of one another would necessarily be political.
Ruth Siriba
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Joined: February 10th, 2024, 1:15 pm

Re: Is philosophy inherently political?

Post by Ruth Siriba »

Philosophy's breadth allows for engagement with various aspects of human experience, beyond the political sphere. Philosophers may discuss aesthetics, the nature of consciousness, or questions related to the meaning of life, which may not always have direct political implications.
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