It isn’t that I mind academic detachment. After all, I was impressed and shaken by Wordsworth’s “The World is Too Much with Us”:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
I even remember some of the poem decades after I encountered it in high school.
Still, I do mind being in total ignorance of a vast kind of creative output. In case you share the ignorance and would like not to, try the Wikipedia entry on Fan Labor:
Fan labor is a term used to refer to the productive creative activities engaged in by fans, primarily those of various media properties or musical groups. These activities can include creation of written works (fictional, fan fictional and review literature), visual or computer-assisted art, music, or applied arts and costuming.
Although fans invest significant time creating their products, and fan-created products are “often crafted with production values as high as any in the official culture,” most fans provide their creative works as amateurs, for others to enjoy without requiring or requesting monetary compensation. Fans respect their gift economy culture and are often also fearful that charging other fans for products of their creativity will somehow fundamentally change the fan-fan relationship, as well as attract unwanted legal attention from copyright holders. The skills that fans hone through their fan works may be marketable, and some fans find employment through their fan works.
Of course, I should think we’re all aware of instances of fan labor; even much of philosophy could be counted as fan labor, I suppose. But the really vast output was somehow shielded from my ken. That stopped when I started to follow the links on Rachel Smith Corbleigh’s comments on Magic’s post here.
Now, is philosophy as it is done today often fan labor? If we borrow terms from descriptions of Fan Fiction, then surely a case can be made. The journals are full of articles that pick up a theme in someone else’s work and modify or expand (or both) them.
To see philosophy in this way might trivialize the whole idea of fan labor. Or it might give us some different ways of thinking about the disciplines. For example, what in philosophy might be the analogue of good fan fiction?