Announcing “The Deviant Philosopher” Website

A team based at the University of Oklahoma have just announced a splendid new website devoted to teaching “deviant philosophy.” It is made up of Primers, Units and Lessons, and Exercises and Activities, all designed to be incorporated into existing courses or to spur the creation of new ones. The editors are also very interested in new content, so please contribute! Their discussion of the meaning of “deviant philosophy” helps to make clear the scope of the project:

“We have no precise definition of what constitutes “deviant philosophy” and indeed the site is premised on the idea of openness to discovering new philosophical territories and domains.  Our governing conviction is that philosophy itself profits from curiosity about materials and approaches outside what is called the “mainstream.”  Just as “mainstream philosophy” is invoked loosely to denote that which is most familiar, most often taught, and most well-represented in the formal institutional structures of the discipline, we use “deviant philosophy” loosely to capture what this leaves out.  This includes philosophies developed outside the intellectual lineage of the western canon, philosophies from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and indigenous populations.  It includes philosophical perspectives occluded by this canon and its contemporary inheritors, such as those found in feminist philosophy, philosophies of disability, or African American philosophy.  And it includes approaches to this canon that fall outside the ordinary, approaches that take a “non-mainstream” approach to the familiar stuff of the mainstream.  Put most plainly, we use “deviant philosophy” to capture philosophies and philosophical approaches that many philosophers may have missed out on in their early training, don’t find regularly available in the usual discussions and professional outlets, or simply find difficult to begin investigating on their own given limited time and exposure.

It bears noting, perhaps, that our use of the term “deviant” is deliberately playful and tongue-in-cheek.  With it, we intend no fixed or hardened division between types of philosophy, much less to pitch the deviant agonistically against the mainstream.  Rather, we think that philosophy itself, at its best, is a rather deviant endeavor, one that can entail heady intellectual exploration into the unknown and unfamiliar.  Our site is an effort to plot out some of the less well-traveled directions this sort of exploration might take.  Whether you’re a traditionally trained Anglophone philosopher or work in one of the “deviant” areas and want to explore others, we hope you’ll find much that is philosophically enlivening and pedagogically useful on our site!”

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