Philosophy Americana: Making Philosophy at Home in American Culture
Douglas R. Anderson
Fordham University Press, 2006
0-8232-2550-X (cloth), 0-8232-2551-8 (paper)
Review by Mike O’Connor
The American view toward philosophy might best be exemplified by Ferris Bueller’s assessment of his upcoming exam on European socialism. “[R]eally, what’s the point? I’m not European; I don’t plan on being European: so who gives a crap if they’re socialist? They could be fascist anarchists—that still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car.” In the United States, the subject has never been among the more treasured forms of cultural expression; indeed, the emphasis on the pragmatic over the theoretical is often cited as a paradigmatically American trait. Whether this ordering signifies a focused drive to prune away the irrelevant or merely a certain boorishness, it is nonetheless a pronounced characteristic of the national culture.