When one always reads the history of philosophy, you really see how different Universities always had a tendency towards a particular school. So my question is, why do you think this sort of past phenomena is gone? Is this the rise of relativism or a new mega eclectic school of philosophy (a new school of its own).

Remember that since the beginning of the modern Universities in the Middle ages, and if you want to go back to the different pre-socratic schools, and post-Socratic schools that endured for quite some time. Think of Plato's Academy. I have my own ideas about this, but would like to have some input from someone else on this.

edited: the title had a mistake.

  • Some liberal arts colleges adopt a particular philosophy that permeates the entire college, not just the philosophy department (e.g., Thomism for Thomas Aquinas College).
    – Geremia
    Sep 28 '14 at 2:42
  • Some heavily religious private schools tend to be this way, if that counts.
    – Dave
    Sep 28 '14 at 4:18
  • Other then the Catholic Church, I really don't see how the religious private schools have a particular school of thought. In general modern Christian sects tend to be a mixture of realism + a bunch of other stuff. A school should have a complete system of thought, that permeates everything else. It should be somewhat Dogmatic in nature, (excluding the Skeptics as an exception to the rule) it should also have institutions that protect it both de facto and de jure as the main rule of thought (if it does have this element then it guarantees a future strong following). Sep 28 '14 at 7:49

This sort of phenomenon is still present. While not perfect, take a look at the http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/ and the sub-area rankings. That will show roughly speaking where different departments in the anglophone world are strong or weak.

To give a few examples, MIT's philosophy department is known for being centered on philosophy of language, places like Memphis, Boston College, etc., are known for being "continental". NYU is known for being strong in metaphyics.

  • That's just departments, though. Do those departments' philosophies permeate the whole school and influence it?
    – Geremia
    Sep 28 '14 at 2:38
  • By and large, no. It is mainly relegated to departments at this point.
    – virmaior
    Sep 28 '14 at 2:45
  • I think it's a bit odd to compare classical "schools" with modern specializations/areas, no? I'd think they're more like the various "movements" that pop up, like, e.g., Hegelianism, or the two examples I mention in my answer. +1 for the contribution, either way.
    – Dennis
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:00
  • Err, the way people practice specializations particularly at places like MIT mirrors classical schools. Philosophy done in other ways (i.e., other specializations is not taken seriously).
    – virmaior
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:23
  • I might add that the older philosophical schools encompassed a whole way of life. Like the Pythagoreans, all practiced a consistent systematic way of thinking from start to finish. The same goes with the different skeptic schools, the cynics even had a funny way of making their point by being really unkempt. All the modern schools don't seem to be taken as seriously as before. I guess in general philosophy has lost its strength, many people look to the natural sciences as their epistemological base. Instead of philosophy of being as their foundation for their love of wisdom. Sep 28 '14 at 7:41

To add another data point, there are definitely schools of thought that pop up, even quite recently.

In one of my fields (metaphysics) David Lewis has spawned an entire generation of practitioners of Lewisian metaphysics, which is characterized by similarity in methodology and adoption of a broadly Lewisian framework (typically, his notion of "naturalness" of properties, and his counterpart theory, if not his whole modal realism) as well as an interested in topics Lewis contributed heavily to (metaphysics of modality, causation, etc.). Currently "Lewisian" (in a generous sense of the term) schools: UMass Amherst would certainly qualify because of Phil Bricker and Maya Eddon. Schaeffer at Rutgers is in this tradition. So is Ted Sider at Cornell, Delia Graff Fara at Princeton, Laurie Paul at UNC. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Likewise, in Epistemology a certain sort of Quinean naturalism (named after W.V.O. Quine) is pretty popular. Richard Boyd would be a great example. Hilary Kornblith(UMass Amherst) carries on in that tradition, as do a few others. It is characterized by a suspicion of speculative metaphysics (hearkening back to the logical positivists) and an appreciation of empirical methods (they draw heavily from cog sci, neurosci, and pyschology literature).

  • As worded, I don't think this answers what he's asking -- which is whether are locations that are standard bearers for certain views. Maybe it was unclear it my answer but certain departments become havens for these "schools" or at least dominated by these schools. Few would raise the flag as obviously as say Plato's academy or Aristotle's schola, but what's more important than there being followers is that these followers be aggregated and able to create their own fief departments...
    – virmaior
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:24
  • I'm not an M&E guy, but my sense [which is why I sress I'm not an M&E guy] is that one would be hard pressed to find a Lewisian department.
    – virmaior
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:25
  • @virmaior Not at all. UMass Amherst would certainly qualify because of Phil Bricker and Maya Eddon. Schaeffer at Rutgers is in this tradition. So is Ted Sider at Cornell, Delia Graff Fara at Princeton, Laurie Paul at UNC. Those are just a few off the top of my head.
    – Dennis
    Sep 28 '14 at 3:59
  • @Deniis I lived in Princeton for two years, audited a graduate course there. Department definitely didn't seem Lewisian to me. 1 person doesn't make a dogmatic school. I think your confusing presence of a couple followers with dogmatic school -- as we as the case in the Middle ages and as was specified in the question.
    – virmaior
    Sep 28 '14 at 4:01
  • @virmaior I was taking the presence of a number of philosophers practicing a similar methodology, albeit spread out at several universities was enough to indicate a sort of "movement" or "school". If the question is specifically about dogmatic schools, then it's an obvious "no" (even counting MIT and their reputed parochialism). I took the question to be more about contemporary "schools" among academics focused at universities. But perhaps I misinterpreted.
    – Dennis
    Sep 28 '14 at 4:07

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