This is the monologue for the most recent episode of Why? Radio: "Why Philosophy Won't Go Away” with guest Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Click here to listen to the episode.
Philosophy tends to be invisible. We don’t look at Luke Skywalker and shout “metaphysics!” when he tries to feel The Force and we don’t refer to Downtown Abby as our Aristotelean Virtue Ethics soap opera. We can label these things after the fact. We can also argue about whether The Force is real or whether Lord Grantham is a person of character. But these acts feel, to most people, like artifice. A nerdy sport for the select few.
That’s why my approach to public philosophy is almost always to try to slip the explicit philosophical themes in through the back door. I like to get my audience interested in the topic first and then bring out the more subtle stuff once they’re hooked. I like to show them that they are doing philosophy after they start doing it, because otherwise, they get self-conscious. Too many people think philosophy is not for them. They don’t understand that they do philosophy naturally, as part of their daily lives.