Radical Philosophy in Abeyance

Many of the concerns of the BIH have been reflected in the journal Radical Philosophy and contributors to it have spoken at our events. One of its editors, Esther Leslie, is current Acting Co-Director of BIH. Here she reflects on the demise of the magazine.

Radical Philosophy is searching for a new form. It was in its first incarnation a journal set up in 1972 by radicalised students. They were frustrated by what passed for philosophy in British universities, at a time where developments in philosophical theory elsewhere were feeding into and out of new social movements and political debates on the Left, in the work of Critical Theory of various types. The magazine Radical Philosophy, a ‘Journal of Socialist and Feminist Philosophy’, as it was subtitled at one point, cultivated an unusual look that remained relatively consistent over its 45 years: A4 in format, with newspaper style columns and a panoply of pictures and photographs, obliquely related to contents. It held onto its independence in two ways – independence from university presses or any other presses and independence of its outlook. Its latest subtitle, the one to be found on the website, which has existed since 2000, is ‘Philosophical Journal of the Independent Left’. Times change, as any leftist theory journal would be first to say – and Radical Philosophy, in its current format, did not survive the multiple pressures of intensified work regimes of its editors, the push towards ranked journals and a quantifiable research culture amongst its potential contributors and the challenges of an Open Access environment, where different patterns of working, distributing and reading are established. But some endings are the result of victories, even if those victories are not the ones imagined by the participants. Some of the radical theories that found their advocates in RP were in time everywhere to be seen, within university Humanities departments though still not within UK philosophy departments for the most part, which discern all too well that which is hinted at in the title – that all philosophy after Kant despises philosophy.


Wait and See:  Radical Philosophy will be relaunching in a new format in 2017 with a new editorial collective made up of existing and new members of the editorial collective!





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