chapter  1
The Popular in Philosophy
Notes on a Pluralistic Concept of Democratic Enlightenment
WithMarc Rölli
Pages 13

The chapter deals with the status of the popular in German Enlightenment philosophy and in a further step shows how, in his work on the history of philosophy and religion in Germany, Heinrich Heine defends the claim of the popular against the esoteric tendencies of idealistic philosophy. The works by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari written in the 1970s are occasionally described as “pop philosophy”. One can take this term “seriously”: it may remind us of movements during the Enlightenment era and early sociological approaches in the 19th century, which not least understood themselves as critiques of esoteric philosophy—and simultaneously of social power relations. They formulated a claim to be addressed to “everybody” and not just to the learned academic world. In their late, jointly written book What Is Philosophy? Deleuze and Guattari (1996) discuss the problem of the popular in philosophy by bringing the concept of “non-philosophy” into play.