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Philosophical Apps: How To Popularize Philosophy (guest post by Caleb Ontiveros)

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The following is a guest post* by Caleb Ontiveros, a former philosophy Ph.D. student who now works as a software engineer. Philosophical Apps: How To Popularize Philosophy by Caleb Ontiveros The mediums available for popularizing philosophy are underexplored. If you want to share philosophical thought and techniques with non-academic philosophers and such, the medium matters. Why should philosophy’s would-be popularizers care about the medium? Historically, philosophers have not been the best at identifying how to bring their thought to the masses. “Non-philosophers” tend to get a lot more exposure. If you ask an ordinary person who their favorite contemporary philosopher is, there’s a decent chance that they’ll name someone like Jordan Peterson or Nassim Taleb, and possibly then Peter Singer and maybe Slavoj Žižek. This may or may not be bad, but it’s relevant if you care about popularizing. The typical model for popularizing philosophy has been to write popular books, publish at popular websites or in well-known publications, and basically go on speaking tours. For many academic philosophers, the model of popularization hasn’t advanced much further. But given the diverse forms of communication and interaction available to people today, we must recognize that the strategy of “share ideas with enough readers of the New York Times, lecture enough, and publish a few books” is limited in its effectiveness and reach. Fortunately, there has been some innovation in forms of public philosophy over the past few years. A few mediums that philosophers have begun to use well include: Podcasts (Very Bad Wizards, Philosophy Bites, The Partially Examined Life, Hi Phi Nation — sorry if I skipped your podcast) Twitter Innovative courses (I’m thinking about stuff like this) Moocs Youtube (Like Twitter, dominated by non-academic philosophers, though) Each of these are still pretty early days, especially the last. One area that has been underexplored by. . .

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News source: Daily Nous

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