We asked you: What is the future of philosophy?

APA Philosophy Future Poster I v2

At this year’s APA Eastern Meeting, we asked you, “What you think is the future of philosophy?” and “What questions you might have for your peers?” Here’s what some of you had to say.


“The future of philosophy ought to be a more systematic engagement with the problems, challenges, and possibilities of globalized civilization – critically analyzing and constructively envisioning of the collective and sustainable future of humanity.”
David Sprintzen, Long Island University

Philosophy is fated to disappear, unless people will rediscover its value. But what is its value today? To ask, ‘what is its value’ is not the same as to ask ‘what is its use’. Or is it?”
– Anonymous

 “The discipline will continue to investigate itself – historically and demographically. More critical race and gender. More inclusive and more diverse styles of writing and topics.”
Storm Heter, East Stroudsburg University

I think that philosophy study will incorporate more from the sciences (natural and social sciences). But what exactly do philosophers make use of science requires more thinking.”
– Anonymous

“The future of philosophy will depend on the ability of philosophers and humanists to demonstrate the necessity of humanities and critical thought to a democratic society.”
Kevin Jobe, Morgan State University

“Since the Cold War, Philosophy has been separated from the Political World. The future will be the cooperation between the two worlds.”
– Anonymous

“The future is what philosophers must take seriously – expansion of applied philosophical dialogue with other disciplines – What is the value of philosophy in public space?”
John M. Abbarno, D’Youville College

“Content wise: smaller more focused work analog to normal science. Format wise: online books/articles”
– Anonymous

Missed your chance at APA Eastern? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more: here’s a post from 2011 where Matti Eklund discusses Trends in Philosophy.

And, browse our philosophy journals free for 30 days online by visiting wileyonlinelibrary.com and using code APA2016.



No Flying Cars by 2010?!

There are some things everyone knows about the future: there will be flying cars, disease will be a thing of the past and there will be regular shuttles to Mars.  Unfortunately, in this context, “the future” isn’t well defined.  For many people living in the 1970’s, the year 2010 was “the future,” but for us, 2010 seems a lot more like “the present.”  So, frustratingly, having arrived at 2010, we still have to wait for a lunar vacation.

A recent article in Scientific American laments, “10 Science Letdowns of the New Millenium.”  Some disappointments are technological: there are no flying cars, no regular flights to Mars, and no sources of unlimited, cheap energy.  Others concern failures in research: there is no cure for cancer, no vaccine for aids, and the intricate workings of the brain still baffle our best scientists.  Still other failures Continue reading “No Flying Cars by 2010?!”

What Explains the Direction of Time?

Why do we experience the world as unfolding in time?  And why does it unfold toward the future rather than the past?  One hint is provided by entropy: eggs break (but never un-break), we grow older (but never younger), ice melts when we add it to a pot of boiling water (but the boiling water never gets hotter while the chunk of ice gets bigger).  Yet entropy itself requires an explanation because both entropic and anti-entropic behavior are compatible with the fundamental laws of physics.  One solution was first explained in detail by David Albert, a philosopher at Columbia University, in his book, Time and Chance (2001).  According to Albert, it is the big bang, which provides a low-entropy boundary condition, that explains the direction of time (and all of its associated puzzles).  Now, Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology has taken up Albert’s idea in his new book, From Eternity to Here.  In a recent interview in Scientific American, Carroll claims “just about everything about the arrow of time—what we would think of as “how time works,” the fact that the past is set in stone while the future can still be altered—is all because of entropy.”  Carroll’s book is intended for a popular audience, and would be a worthwhile investment for any philosopher curious about physics-based approaches to the metaphysics of time.

Related Articles:

The Experience of Time and Change

By Barry Dainton , University of Liverpool
(Vol. 3, June 2008)
Philosophy Compass

Time Travel: Double Your Fun

By Frank Arntzenius , Rutgers University
(Vol. 1, October 2006)
Philosophy Compass