|Abstract||This paper offers a series of reflections on the movement of philosophy beyond its traditional locus in colleges and universities into business settings.
This movement is characterized as a variation on a persistent theme in the western tradition beginning with Socrates and running throughout modern (Spinoza, Hume, Locke and Berkeley) and recent philosophers (Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre and Russell) who held no full time academic appointment. Increasingly philosophers are addressing the concerns of scientists, lawyers, and engineers on the job rather than in the classroom. To what end? As one of the liberal arts, philosophy expands our horizons by locating immediate concerns within a broader historical cultural context and provides conceptual tools and techniques for analyzing problems. Teaching ethics in a board room rather than graduate seminar can still serve to raise students' consciousness, clarify conflicting values, sharpen moral reasoning and help identify moral truths. Yet as the philosophers' role shifts from teacher and researcher as traditionally defined to agent provocateur, revolutionary, moral conscience or confidante, novel problems arise for philosophers that are long familiar to social and applied scientists. The traditional prerogatives of academic freedom are modified through new institutional arrangements that demand loyalty and confidentiality rather than neutrality and the dissemination of knowledge. |