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Contemporary Philosophical Orientation

Contemporary philosophical orientation is a complex phenomenon because its major varieties all share at least one attribute, which is a programmatic rejection of traditional approaches to philosophical discourse, whether Christian or secular. Further complicating the picture is that the responses to traditional moral consensus, while identifiably distinct, also overlap and converge to some extent, with the result that to discuss difference of approach is in no small part to discuss nuance, or different sides or portions of the same coin. If one supposes that the rhetorical rivalries between Platonic and Aristotelian schools of thought, which entail the tradition of Christian apologetics but also take in secular adumbrations of moral philosophy such as those typical of the Enlightenment, can be classed as more or less traditional, then one must look to strands of thought identified with Marxist, modernist, existentialist and postmodernist discourse for the lineaments of contemporary philosophical orientation.

The rise of social theory, in particular the critique of social and political structures that developed over the course of the 19th century, represented a significant break with preceding strands of philosophical thought. It is possible to locate the origins of social theory with Hegel and the strength of the dialectic. In that regard, Marcuse says that what is "essential" about Hegel's view of modern [i.e., Enlightenment] philosophy is that he takes it to be self-dissolving and self-negating. Enlightenment concepts, says Hegel, "share the fate of the society they explain. They lose their progressive character, their promising tone, their critical impact, and assume the form of defeat and frustration" (185). The reason is chiefly that notions of the progressive character of human experience are belied by the reality that individual will and interests simply do not jibe with the context in which they might be exercised, Because "...

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Contemporary Philosophical Orientation. (2000, January 01). In Retrieved 11:31, February 21, 2017, from