Today the expression ‘ivory tower’ has a merely negative meaning and more than once, philosophers have been told to live into their ivory tower, withdrawn from real life. As a response philosophy should be relieved from its metaphysical history and focus on the acknowledgement of skills or tools for democratic adultery. Philosophy then is a practice of discovering the diversity and relativity of things in life.
Even in philosophy itself there is the tendency to throw the ‘whole lot’ overboard and no longer spend energy on the ‘pain of being’. This essay circles around this tendency. Can the desire for wisdom or truth indeed be reduced to the art of living, and are a number of questions that have indeed kindled philosophy definitively closed? Have we closed the books on the problem of truth, and is the philosophy that is still occupied with it indeed an ivory-tower affair?
Against the overtly hung for transparency of thought, we analyze the ambivalent biblical background of the use of ‘ivory tower’ in our culture, and get along with this line of thought to question the status of philosophy today: is philosophy an exercise in making this relative or less absolute, or is it just the other way round: the tenacity to think through stubborn dilemma’s or aporetic problems until the very point we are embarrassed by our incompetence to solve them?
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