Philosophy Disturbed: reflections on moving between field and philosophy

Parallax 24 (4): 449-465 (2018)
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Part of a special issue of Parallax on 'Field Philosophy and other experiments'. In a number of accounts, field philosophy has been described as providing freedom from disciplinary constraints. In this paper, however, I suggest the importance of paying closer attention to the strength of philosophy’s boundary policing and the consequences this might have for those interested in the approach. Discussing field philosophy in terms of disturbance, I highlight some of the difficulties and opportunities it produces. In particular I focus on the labour involved in adopting new methods and working in new sites of enquiry. I suggest that reconstituting the ‘philosopher’ outside of their traditional habitats is no simple task. Still, I argue that field philosophers should lay claim to the boundary policing question ‘how is this philosophy?’ in order to proliferate accounts of what philosophy is and can be, with the hope that the discipline’s future might be turned more strongly towards supporting diversity rather than defending purity. Keywords: field philosophy; feminist philosophy; inclusion; methods; field research
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