Philosophy as Astonishment

Another observation by Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, as reported in this piece.

Since Kant, [Mehdi Belhaj Kacem] says, the philosopher has always been affiliated with the university, which has meant that the guardianship of the crucial human activity of prompting“ astonishment at that which no one had thought to be astonished before” is in the hands of the least astonished kind of people around, the “professionals of profession.”

You know, I couldn’t agree more. “Professional” philosophy has, for the most part, domesticated philosophy, enervated philosophy, cheapened philosophy, and practically killed philosophy – in just the sense the MBK means it.

I’m not familiar, actually, with MBK’s work (and I find Badiou, whom MBK is critcizing, to be too opaque for me to grasp), so I don’t know if there is anything here of a positive program to revivify philosophy, whether there are any resources in MBK’s work that take philosophy is a better direction than Badiou. But at least this intuition of MBK is right on.

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