March 7th, 2011

S.C. Hickman

Philosophical Ethics: To Blog or Not to Blog?

Bill Vallicella over at Maverick Philosopher has been around for a long while now blogging, and knows the in's and out's of it with the best of them. Blogging as an activity isn't for everyone, but for those of us who use it as a tool and a prod toward a more structured form of discourse within a democratic community it is becoming essential. Bill gives us his reasons for blogging as follows:

1. An on-line notebook: a place to preserve and organize quotations from and notes on my reading.

2. An on-line journal: a daily record of the twists and turns of my intellectual life, along with some other sides of my life. A celebration of the life of the mind, an exemplification of the philosophical life. A record of one man's quotidian grappling with the world and its riddles.

3. A didactic site: a place where a serious and resolute reader can learn some philosophy for free.

4. A research site: a venue for trying out ideas and refining them in the teeth of critical comments.

5. An exercise in learning how to write better.

6. An experiment in what blogging might be good for.

7. A soapbox from which to deliver my commentary on the passing scene and do my bit to improve the world, one blog post at a time.

8. An open-ended project some of the purposes of which have yet to emerge.

I think if we look at this list we'd see aspects of our own blogging adventures in there, too. Bill has one more tidbit of information worth listening to in regards to this hypermedium of our age (read more) :

"There is a bit of a paradox in my project, the blogging of philosophy. Sauntering along life's byways, cooling his heels at the margins of society, the philosopher bids us slow down! Whither the headlong mad rush? Quo vadis? Take thought, he suggests, take heed. Socrates knew how to stand stock still in the scene of strife and consult with his daimon. Wittgenstein, denounced in these pages as a Cave philosopher, yet had the good sense to recommend as salutation among philosophers, "Take your time!" (Der Gruß der Philosophen untereinander sollte sein: Laß dir Zeit! Vermischte Bemerkungen.) And in a place unknown to me, Franz Brentano, once a Catholic priest and no stranger to the contemplative disciplines, observes that "He who hurries is not proceeding on a scientific basis." (Wer eilt, bewegt sich nicht auf dem Boden der Wissenschaft.)

So in the belly of the blogospheric beast I too do my bit to slow things down."

Let us hope Bill continues for a long while with his aphoristic wit and charm to build an empowering tool of blog posts for use in our daily philosophical thought and praxis. Thanks, Bill!

S.C. Hickman

China Miéville: Interview on BLDGBLOG

"I’m always much happier talking in terms of metaphor, because it seems that metaphor is intrinsically more unstable. A metaphor fractures and kicks off more metaphors, which kick off more metaphors, and so on. In any fiction or art at all, but particularly in fantastic or imaginative work, there will inevitably be ramifications, amplifications, resonances, ideas, and riffs that throw out these other ideas."
     - China Miéville

New interview on BLDGBLOG of China Miéville!