... Arthur Danto on Richard Rorty: Margins for Error. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
According to Rorty: "The professionalization of philosophy, its transformation into an academic discipline, was a necessary evil. But it has encouraged attempts to make philosophy into an autonomous quasiscience. These attempts should be resisted. The more philosophy interacts with other human activities—not just natural science, but art, literature, religion and politics as well—the more relevant to cultural politics it becomes, and thus the more useful. The more it strives for autonomy, the less attention it deserves."
I don't know if the professionalization was necessary or not, but it has proved a bad idea - though
it has happened over and over again throughout history. Socrates was not a professional philosopher. He was a guy trying to get people to think, preferably accurately and precisely. I don't think he aimed at devising a system of thought or was interested in constructing theries for their own sake.But the point was to live an enhanced life, not be "relevant to cultural polticis," whatever the hell that means.