Today we have a guest entry from a friend of mine – Joseph D. Kuzma. With lots of entries on science related issues, I thought it would be useful to have the perspective of a PhD student of humanities
If the spirit of interdisciplinary inclusiveness has found a worthy, and perhaps intractable enemy amidst the increasing fragmentation and micro-specialisation of discourses, it seems that philosophers have never really had a problem with reconciling the two. Specialisation need not preclude interdisciplinary broadness – this is the lesson we are beginning to learn, and it is a lesson, moreover, which the best philosophers have always known — seduced, as they so often were, from neighbouring discourses such as mathematics, natural science, theology, and literature.
This would tend to explain, at least partially, the intimidating breadth which philosophical discourse has today attained. For those of us who conduct philosophical research at the doctoral, or post-doctoral level, there can now be little doubt about the fact that as our subject of research becomes increasingly specialized (consider the ever-proliferating branches of philosophy, from bio-ethics to Badiou’s set-theory, and from epistemology to political philosophy) it also opens itself, at the very same time, to the possibility of an increasingly diverse range of interdisciplinary encounters.
Perhaps more than ever before, it has become perilous to philosophise in an intellectual vacuum. The cliché of the detached, stoic philosophy student, surrounded by dusty tomes lives on, of course, as an academic stereotype not so readily disproved. And yet the philosophies of the future, and there will be as many of these as there will be new species for a botanist to discover, will most likely be the product of minds attuned to the productive resonance (and resonance is often dissonant at first) of divergent new theories no longer bound to any one discourse in particular. And direct engagement in the world itself, as well as openness to alterity in all its forms, will be a pre-requisite.
As my doctoral research at Warwick enters its third year – and the prospect of entering the job market presents itself as an exigency which soon will be undeferrable – all of this becomes a matter not only of philosophical interest but of personal interest as well.