one thing i'd say about our cultural moment: people hate to argue, or even disagree. they don't want to argue about politics, or art, or anything else, and the sheer fact that you disagree with someone threatens their self-esteem. now people do still want to insult and berate people but only in the company of other people who agree with themselves. no one wants to have an actual exchange. i am going to be uncomfortable in a world like that, and really it's not a world conducive to philosophy, for example. i do think it's a chickenshit moment: people are scared that they're going to be harmed by a well-turned phrase; if you live in fear of words and ideas, i think you need more grit. i grew up among extremely combative and definite adults, arguing all the time about everything. most of the time, this was good: straight up fun for all concerned, even when they were turning red in the face and exploding with insults. if disagreement is prohibited, we'll merge toward completely unjustified consensus within groups and a total incomprehension and ignorance between them that is the last straw of polarization. people are making themselves stupid cowards on principle. also people are credulous to the point of emptiness within their own little spheres of fake consensus, merely subordinated, and by their own choice. you might think that arguing pulls people apart, while agreement pulls them together. but in politics, this approach is liable to leave us in two camps, bristling with hostility toward one another and totally disabled in communicating with one another. arguing is what keeps a democracy unified.
i do think philosophy is pretty essentially agonistic. many would deny that, or seek to overcome it, or connect it to the male-dominatedness of the profession, etc. but usually people who have thought that a consensus must emerge merely fantasized that everyone would eventually agree with themselves. (i don't know why people would think that women can't argue or are always agreeable or something.) but anyway: plato vs. the sophists and aristotle v plato, right? all those hellenistic schools against one another. empiricists against rationalists, and each against each other. an important source of kierkegaard's philosophy is his loathing of all things hegel. nietzsche against everyone. quine against carnap or austin v ayer. or even: confucius vs. lao tzu and mo tzu, etc. people want the issues to be resolved; i'm especially interested in those i think never will be, which are wide-open contexts for debate. seriously, i just wrote a big old 'system of philosophy' a la schopenhauer or something. do i think that it will set things, or anything, to rest? i hope not, even if i do think (right now, provisionally) that my positions are right. i know my fantasy of owning the future with my philosophy is just that. i'd like to be read, but i'm as happy to read with hostility as with agreement, though i'm happy about that too if i ever get any. but without my extreme rejection of plato, kant, hegel, rorty, etc, the thing wouldn't exist at all.