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  • Tasks of Philosophy - Looking Ahead:Editor's Introduction
  • John J. Stuhr

The articles that follow, richly interwoven and marked by a great many cross-references and efforts to think together, all consider the tasks, challenges, and possibilities for philosophy—different philosophies—in the future. All manifest a constructive or reconstructive orientation toward multiple, overlapping aspects of this topic. These include political opportunities and responsibilities of philosophy and philosophers in the face of cultural silencings and silences, presences and absences, and dominations and struggles; ethical challenges of transformation in light of histories of complicities and lineages and sedimentations of powers and privileges; broadly educational efforts to reconstruct habits and institutions given the current business mind-set of education; aesthetic possibilities to startle, refocus, re-form, refeel, and resignify; and epistemologies, productions of knowledges, and narratives that take up what is one, common, or shared and also what is many, plural, or different.

The first four articles take up the relations among philosophies, arts, pluralism, and politics. Drawing principally on John Dewey's philosophy, Vincent Colapietro explores the capacity of philosophy to transcend its time and, at once, its entanglement in its own history and place. Megan Craig imagines America, education, and philosophy from a century in the future, [End Page 1] arguing for philosophy to take more pluralistic, creative, and politically engaged forms. Analyzing the condition of philosophy at present, I also argue for pluralism in theory and practice, suggesting that philosophy can profitably be understood as an expressive, evocative, imaginative, visionary art or creative endeavor like poetry, theater, music, painting, and similar work. Robert Innis examines the plural significances of art and aesthetic experience for formulating, presenting, critically engaging, and illuminating what Dewey called the "moving unbalanced balance of things."

Focusing on the importance of borders in our lives and drawing crucially on Gloria Anzaldúa's account of nepantla, Nancy Tuana and Charles Scott ask how we are able to both engage and maintain differences and point to a philosophical art guided by unspeakable differences that give us bridges beyond philosophy. Lori Gallegos de Castillo confronts the psychological and practical challenges of engaging with persons with radically different backgrounds, lives, and cultures—and recommends strategies to navigate this radical friction between different worldviews. These differences coexist with points of cultural and philosophical overlap and pluralism, as Scott Stroud contends in his account of the pragmatism of Indian politician Bhimrao Ambedkar and his philosophy of nonviolence. In a different context, John Lysaker develops an account of authorial voice, understood not merely as a stylistic ornament, that which can reach and instruct across cultural differences and identities.

Identifying the whiteness of American philosophy, Amir Jaima asserts that the only way forward for this philosophy is an Africana philosophical critique that includes both deconstructive (e.g., Wynter, Harris, Mills, Mohanty) and radical (Gordon, Curry, and Africana literature) methodological components. Lee McBride also explores new possibilities and the ways in which philosophers in the face of pervasive conflict and oppressive descriptions of oppressed groups might articulate new descriptions that enable new, different lives and plural prescriptions for social amelioration. Through a genealogy of propaganda, Cory Wimberly focuses on one particular site of conflict and manipulation—the way in which Trump's campaign and administration have turned propaganda against the elite and the psychological benefits it produces for its supporters. Finally, Mary Magada-Ward considers the pedagogical role of philosophical criticism, its role in fostering increasingly better explanations of our natural and social world, and the need to cultivate in both teachers and students a sense of grace for the possibility of human flourishing. Nurturing faith in this possibility, as John Dewey wrote in another context, is surely a sufficiently large task for our philosophy. [End Page 2]



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