From Classical to contemporary philosophy
Students often think that philosophy ends to Descartes. Some teachers and faculty launched the following joke: “A good philosopher is a dead philosopher !”
Nope ! contemporary philosophy is more alive than ever: the twentieth century is a great century for philosophy. Many thinkers have challenged the tradition of announcing new thinking, especially phenomenology and analytic philosophy. However, it is clear that the center of gravity has shifted: the great contemporary philosophers are English, or almost all Americans, while at the seventeenth, they were almost all French and German.
We propose a list of living philosophers (at the end of 2012):
– Amartya Sen: Indian Economist, his major work is Equality of What in which he bases his economic theory on a new conception of subjectivity around the concept of capability.
– Peter Sloterdijk: German thinker close to Nietzsche and Heidegger. Sloterdijk is a philosophy of science and morality to the extent he thinks self-taming of man by science.
– Peter Singer: Australian Philosopher, he founded a new philosophy based on the rights of animals (Animal Liberation). He advocates a moral equality between men and animals insofar as they may suffer. This implies vegetarianism.
– Michael Dummett: English Philosopher. Figure of analytic philosophy. His Dialogue with Frege and Wittgenstein have influenced the philosophy of language.
– Jürgen Habermas: Habermas is arguably the greatest living philosopher. Habermas contributed on ethical issues (cloning / eugenics) public space (principle of publicity) or the European construction.
– Axel Honneth: German sociologist, his theory of recognition is in fact a manifesto for a political philosophy practice.
– René Girard: French philosopher, the decisive contribution lies in Girard’s theory of desire, which structure human life through mimicry and triangularités “Every desire is the desire of imitation of another.” Girard is a critique of Freud as Levi-Strauss.
– Jacques Bouveresse: French philosopher inspired by the analytic tradition. He shows to defend the tradition of the Enlightenment against the french theory (Deleuze, Foucault or Derrida) and works to explain Wittgenstein’s thought.
– Hilary Putnam: Putnam is the great figure of the American philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. His theory of the brain in a jar remain famous
– Ruwen Ogien: moral philosopher. He advocates a minimalist morality that summarizes in one sentence: “Do not harm others, nothing more.” Nothing too new a priori, but this has resulted, for example, allow the use of drugs.
– Slavoj Žižek: Slovenian Philosopher Zizek is working on identity and political ontologies.
This list of contemporary philosophers can not be exhaustive, but it tended to show the vibrancy of philosophy today.