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The Death of PhilosophyReference and Self-reference in Contemporary Thought$
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Isabelle Thomas-Fogiel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147781

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147781.001.0001

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Questioning the History of Philosophy

Questioning the History of Philosophy

(p.239) 13 Questioning the History of Philosophy
The Death of Philosophy

Isabelle Thomas-Fogiel

, Richard A. Lynch
Columbia University Press

This chapter offers a critique of the history of philosophy in order to challenge the idea of the death of philosophy and explains how historicism can be overcome without returning to the past. It begins by outlining what precise sense philosophy is—a first, distinct, and autonomous science—in order to overcome Jacques Bouveresse’s assertion that “the need to teach the history of the discipline (and to preserve the memory or celebrate the cult of a certain number of great figures…) constitutes about the only thing that still justifies the existence of a good number of philosophy departments in French universities…[and] is what maintains the idea of philosophy as a distinct and autonomous discipline.” It then considers the question of self-reference, as well as issues of interpretation and argumentation with respect to the study of the history of philosophy. It concludes by arguing that the history of philosophy does not only “maintain the idea of philosophy as a distinct and autonomous discipline,” but also bears witness to and demonstrates it.

Keywords:   history of philosophy, death of philosophy, historicism, philosophy, Jacques Bouveresse, self-reference, interpretation, argumentation

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