Are we a nation of philosophers?

Jun 20, 2012

In recent years, the United States has been taken to task by scholars who claim that we live in an age of unreason, misinformation and blind acceptance. Given the results of some opinion polls, you might be tempted to believe them.

However, Carlin Romano is not so quick to judge. In fact, his new book “America the Philosophical” takes a completely different tack. Romano posits that this marks a time of unprecedented truth and debate in American culture. He attributes this to the rise of formerly marginal citizens, such as women, African Americans and the LGBT community expanding the country’s “philosophical tent.”

This growth is coupled with the rise of the Internet and social media, which has led to “cyberphilosophy,” a completely new and original field of thought. In fact, he even goes so far as to label Barack Obama, the nation’s leader, as a philosopher-in-chief.

Just how does Romano justify seeing this philosophical side of America? In what ways have you seen the appreciation of knowledge and discussion build in this country over time? Do you agree with Romano’s philosophical opinion of the United States?


Carlin Romano, author of ‘America the Philosophical’ (Knopf), literary critic and president of the National Book Critics Circle and a Pulitzer Prize finalist

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