Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

But is it Relevant?: A Call for Action in the Humanities with a special Emphasis on the Discipline of Philosophy

Claudia J. McCollough.

In the AGE OF REASON, Jean-Paul Sartre's character, Brunot, says to Mathieu, "You are free. But what is freedom good for, if not to commit oneself?...You are floating, you are an abstract, an absent one!" This paper is a call to prevent abstraction that results in curriculum absenteeism of the Humanities and, especially, Philosophy. Instead, the excitement and energy of Philosophy and all of the Humanities must be concretized and the relevance realized through action.
The claim of the necessity of realizing the self through action spans the spectrum of such unlikely philosophic bedfellows as Aristotle, Hegel, F.H. Bradley and Jean-Paul Sartre. These claims will be juxtaposed with the inaction and, thus, the slow disappearance from and weakening of the Humanities in the college curriculum.
Adopting the premise of commitment, action and relevance, a small department at Coastal Carolina University took itself from a non-major status to a department with 23 majors and a large campus presence in two years. The emergence of this department will be chronicled and presented as a model for the Humanities in academia.


Claudia J. McCollough  (United States)
Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion
Department of Philosophy and Religion
Coastal Carolina University

  • Relevance through Action
  • Saving the humanities from the abstraction that leads to absenteeism
  • Concretizing through Action

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)