Carlin Romano has set himself the task of rebranding both the United States and philosophy. His United States is a distinctly philosophical enterprise, and philosophy in this United States is much more democratic and diverse than a mostly white, mostly male, elite-aspirant academic discipline. I endorse a great deal of the argument that supports Romano’s story. I admire his determination to re-read the history and sociology of philosophy, to treat philosophy as a possibility for ordinary people in the grip of the right modes of loquaciousness and inquisitiveness, and to credit contributions from the discipline’s and the country’s underrepresented populations. But to get to his views on these things, I have to bracket one inescapable fact: I do not share his faith in the ideas that provide the cornerstones of his book – the ideas of America and of a philosophical culture.
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