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The Philosophy of Popular Philosophy: A Miniseries (guest post by Aaron Wendland)The following is the first installment of a miniseries on “The Philosophy of Popular Philosophy.” The series is being guest-edited by Aaron James Wendland, assistant professor of philosophy at National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia, and philosophy editor at The New Statesman. In the following post, he discusses the relationship between the scholarly and popular activities of philosophers. The Philosophy of Popular Philosophy by Aaron James Wendland In January 2019, I launched a philosophy column in the New Statesman: ‘Agora – A Marketplace of Ideas’. Agora provides a space for academics to draw on their education and experience in order to address contemporary social, cultural, and political issues. And after a year spent editing the Agora series, I started questioning the nature and value of what we popular philosophers do. Popular philosophy, as I see it, runs on a spectrum from the popularization of philosophical ideas to the application of those ideas to daily life. This suggests popular philosophy presupposes the esoteric work done by philosophers in the academy. But in a way that is consistent with the myth of Socrates, popular philosophy is simultaneously an inspiration for much academic research. So to see the essence and importance of our public interfacing, we need to tease out the dialectic relationship between our scholarly and popular activities. While the essence of philosophy is contested within the academy, the practice of academic philosophy involves asking a series of metaphysical, ethical, or aesthetic questions and then answering them in creative ways to enhance our understanding. This attempt to expand our knowledge starts with a deep appreciation for the history of philosophy and may require subtle distinctions, detailed argumentation, and a new vocabulary. Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Sidgwick’s The Methods of Ethics, and Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory are all excellent examples of academic philosophy. And although these books were written in different eras, they have at least one feature in common: they demand a certain level of academic expertise before their key ideas shine through. Since we need to know something about Kant, Sidgwick, and Adorno before we can share their ideas with the wider world, academic expertise is the basis of popular philosophy. But it is just the beginning. For the process of..