Existentialism, quietism, and the role of philosophy

In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 304--327 (2004)
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In this essay I consider the question that divides quetism from existentialism and to defend a particular line on that question. The essay is in three main sections. In the first I set out a view of philosophy under which it grows out of reflection on the views that shape ordinary practice. In the second section I outline a theory as to how exactly practice commits us to such views. And then in the third section I argue on the basis of that account that, notwithstanding serious difficulties, philosophy can feed back onto the views that inform practice and recast them in various ways. I reject the existentialist vision according to which there is no limit to how far philosophy may lead us to reconstruct ourselves. But I also reject the quietist view that philosophy must leave everything as it was. Under the picture adopted, philosophy can be expected to have a threefold impact--meditative, methodological, and moral--on people's habits of experience and behaviour.
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