Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Michael Walzer: "Not a good time for philosophy"

In "Tehran Times" April 21, 2010, a short interview with Michael Walzer:

Q: Was the 20th century the best century in the history of philosophy? Why?

A: The century of Heidegger and Sartre? A century of willful obscurity and political idiocy. John Rawls is the towering exception, but he can’t save the century. Compare the era of Plato and Aristotle, or the era of Descartes and Spinoza, or the era of Hume and Kant. I don’t know how the relation of politics and philosophy works, but the 20th century was a time of tyranny, world war, and mass murder, and I would guess that that’s not a good time for philosophy. Certainly the response of philosophers was not anything to be proud of.

See the interview here.

Michael Walzer is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. His latest book is "Thinking Politically. Essays in Political Theory" (Yale University Press, 2007).

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