Philosophy, Culture, and Politics The importance of an understanding of philosophy in having a firm grasp of competing ideologies within culture and politics cannot be stressed enough. I am always surprised at the naivete of those who are college educated, but did not go beyond the Intro. to Philosophy requirements in their reading. I admire Lou Marinoff for his setting up of a philosophical "cafe society" in New York in the 1990s, and his heroic attempt - largely successful - to make inroads into the general culture for philosophical practice and applied philosophy in general.
One of my bloggers, who has full author's rights on this site, Eric Bryant, is a philosophical counselor; a talented philosopher and writer, who has experienced the typical problems which all practicioners go through in getting a client base. But I think the idea of philosophical discourse in the cafe-style may be just as important a venue for a philosophical practitioner, particularly in this time of "the changing of the guard". We now have a president who is highly literary, and strongly philosophical. Steeped in the writings of philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr, Obama's ideas are ideologically grounded; thus his "Change" mantra goes beyond political rhetoric.
I can think of no more important cultural exersize, than to examine philosophically the problems that our culture faces nationally and globally, and to understand that there is a coherent philosophy to Obama's policies. Thus, the questioning of them ought to be just as coherent and philosophically grounded. Thoughts for future projects. A couple of interesting items: in Spring 2008 Hypatia, Haslanger's Changing the Ideology and Culture of Philosophy: Not by Reason (Alone) , available for pdf download. Also an informative site: http://www.comm.umn.edu/foucault/ppc.html
and an excellent compendium of the works of Lasch : http://www.bigbrother.net/~mugwump/Lasch/