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Philosophy among the ruins

Philosophy has lost its place in modern culture-it has failed to respond to the disenchantment inflicted by science and the death of God. Jay Bernstein blames both Anglo-American and continental philosophers for this predicament. He says that Gillian Rose, the British thinker, was among the few who brought a modernist sensibility to philosophy

By Jay Bernstein   March 1996

Nature, in ceasing to be divine, ceases to be human.” Penned in 1891 by John Dewey, the father-to-be of American pragmatism, these words describe the bleak spiritual landscape created by modern science and rapid industrialisation. For Dewey, the size of the disaster-the death of God-defines the size of the problems to which philosophy must now respond: how can there be meaning in the face of a wholly indifferent, godless universe? What happens to truth once there is no guarantee of one “big” truth? These were not just “philosophical questions,” but the questions that had to be asked and answered-by philosophy-if…

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