Karl Jaspers

Philosophy And The World: Selected Essays

"At the universities, the decay of philosophy is due to the isolation in which it is traditionally cultivated, removed from the realities of the age as by a kind of inbreeding. Almost all teachers of philosophy have lived their lives true to type, from the day they entered college: philosophy major and graduate student, Ph.D., lecturer in philosophy, and then the call to a professorship. This is one way, to be sure, but as the only way it lets philosophy dry up...Instead of coming from life, from reality, from science to the flower of philosophizing, instead of nurturing it from the soil in which it grew, the philosophers often deal only with past philosophies and with fine books on everything under the sun. They treat their subject like a herbarium of beautiful plants, with which they operate without arousing new life in them by an infusion of their own blood. One studies philosophy and acquires a virtuosity of intellectual movement, but one does not philosophize in dead earnest, concerned with the truth by which, and with which, we will live."