As someone who loves to read, study and, on occasion, do philosophy, I would consider this a tragedy. Let philosophy departments evolve organically as scholars convince their peers that a new author, idea or tradition is worth engaging. And encourage universities to explore ways to broaden their scopes of inquiry to learn about other intellectual traditions. But demanding that philosophers treat al-Ghazali or Confucius as one of their own is unreasonable, and provides ammunition to people who are ready to banish philosophers from their midst.
The first configuration is what I came to call the Vampires’ Castle. The Vampires’ Castle specialises in propagating guilt. It is driven by a priest’s desire to excommunicate and condemn, an academic-pedant’s desire to be the first to be seen to spot a mistake, and a hipster’s desire to be one of the in-crowd. The danger in attacking the Vampires’ Castle is that it can look as if – and it will do everything it can to reinforce this thought – that one is also attacking the struggles against racism, sexism, heterosexism. But, far from being the only legitimate expression of such struggles, the Vampires’ Castle is best understood as a bourgeois-liberal perversion and appropriation of the energy of these movements. The Vampires’ Castle was born the moment when the struggle not to be defined by identitarian categories became the quest to have ‘identities’ recognised by a bourgeois big Other.