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4 Editorial

With this issue, Radical Philosophy is one year

During this year the movement has created a
good deal of interest and received a lot of support.

However, this success has also served to highlight
the long struggle which will he needed if we are to
have significant effects. The features of British
academic philosophy which we are fighting remain
largely unchanged. Our programme is still a two-fold
one: (1) to attack academic philosophies for their
intellectual sterility and ideological character – to
criticize their theories and to attempt to change the
structures which give rise to them and support them
in practice, particularly the institutions of higher
education: and (2) to encourage the development of
radical alternatives in theory and practice – linking
ourselves closely with other radical political movements is crucial to this.

Radical Philosophy originated within the
universities and polys, and that is where its major
basis of support still lies. We are very keen to
widen this basis of support; it is crucial that the
journal speak to people outside the small world of
academic philosophy. But the movement will not broaden its base until people set up groups/start activities
and begin to produce work for the journal from outside
the universities and polys. Of course we will help any
such moves in every way we can, but this cannot be
achieved hy fiat from the editorial group – it will be
achieved only when people actually produce work for the
journal which deals with subjects of wide concern in
popularly intelligible terms, and nobody should underrate the difficulties of doing this.

It is clear that a group like Radical Philosophy
cannot have a political programme of its own to
challenge the existing political groups. But it is
important to see that this does not mean that Radical
Philosophy has no political role. Its political
activity, however, must remain limited: to theoretical
and educational work and to challenging the organized
basis of academic and other bourgeois philosophy.

Furthermore, if our theoretical work is to be informed
by experience it must remain in close contact with
other spheres of radical politics. It is for this
reason that we are publishing Rosalind Delmar’s
article in this issue, and we would welcome discussion
of the theoretical and practical problems it raises.


Although the political role of Radical Philosophy
must remain a limited one, that is no reason to despise
it. Most of all, the experience of this first year
proves that Radical Philosophy meets a real need and
fulfils a real function for many peopl~ who are oppressed by the sterility of British philosophy and by its
organized imposition in philosophy courses.

Philosophy has given such people a focus for their
activities and a medium of communication for their
views. This is an important achievement.

This view was challenged in the cartoon leaflet
distributed with Radical Philosophy 3. That leaflet
asserted that “the guardians of the status quo rejoice”
at the existence of Radical Philosophy. There is no
basis for this assertion – in fact the opposite has
occurred: the established profession of philosophers
have ignored Radical Philosophy in so far as they have
been allowed to, and attacked it when not. However,
it is certain that the “guardians of the status quo”
would rejoice if Radical Philosophy were to forget
them and become entirely engaged in introspect ions
about its own character.

Nevertheless, the possibilities and limitations
of a movement like Radical Philosophy are questions
on which there must be continuing dehate within the
movement. It is these issues that the cartoon leaflet
raised, and we are again carrying several pieces which
deal with them. They were also discussed at the recent
Oxford meeting, and we expect this debate will continue
at future Open Meetings, which are now plann’ed to take
place regularly (see p.44). We hope that people will
continue to material of all kinds for future

Coming deadlines:

(7th April for notes, short pieces etc.)
(please send material typed and in triplicate if

Back numbers are still available: price 30p per copy
(postage inc.)


“Philosophers, especially those with an academic
position, inherit a long tradition of arguing for
the sake of arguing; even if they despair of
reaching the truth, they think it a matter of
pride to make other philosophers look foolish. A
hankering for academic reputation turns them into
a kind of dialectical bravoes, who go about picking quarrels with their fellow philosophers and
running them through in public, not for the sake
of advancing knowledge, but in order to decorate
themselves with scalps. no wonder that the
subject they represent has been brought into discredit with the general public and with students
who have been trained to care less for victory
than for truth.”

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