​​​​David Sprintzen

​​​The Drama of Thought

From the Preface

        For far too long philosophy has been hobbled by irrelevance. That discipline, historically committed to an intelligent search for wisdom in human affairs, seems to have been reduced to an arid academic specialty, cut off from the impassioned concern of daily life. Philosophers have even come to pride themselves on being specialists in a technical discipline with a complex jargon of its own, an attitude which has often produced quite elaborate theoretical systems. This has served only to widen the chasm separating them from the pervasive human concerns. Thus we have suffered a double loss. While professional philosophy suffers the loss of that rich and significant content which comes from passionate involvement in the unfolding drama of a people, the culture at large loses the insights that imaginative critical thinking can offer in the suggestion of possibilities and the clarification of decisions essential to the creative enhancement of human living. 

        It is this assessment of our contemporary situation that guides this work. Addressing myself to the two-fold problem of the nature of philosophical activity and the cultural tasks of the philosophical profession, I have sought to develop the outlines of a critical reappraisal of the nature and place of philosophy in human experience. I seek to locate traditional philosophical concerns within the wider dramatic contours of personal and cultural living in order to contribute to the revitalization of serious dialogue within our culture on matters of ultimate human concern. This work therefore attempts a very difficult two-fold task: to speak philosophically about philosophy in ways accessible to the ordinary intelligent person, while maintaining a level of theoretical sophistication sufficient to justify the serious attention of professional philosophers. It is my hope and belief that significant philosophical thinking can be made less technical and esoteric, thus opening the way to an invigorating and fruitful dialogue between professional philosophers and the wider intelligent public. This text is offered as an example of and a two-fold invitation to such a collective inquiry. The entire text is available for download from the drop-down menus.