Taking Stock

I imagine the guiding thread of this blog as a sort of expanding spiral.

At the start three years ago, I had little thought of any audience, and treated it as a personal workspace like the many spiral notebooks that preceded it. I began by writing notes to myself, mainly on connections between my rather nonconformist reading of Aristotle and the work of the contemporary American analytic philosopher Robert Brandom, who among other things had convinced me to adopt much more favorable views of Kant and Hegel.

Already at the beginning, I expected to eventually include discussions like the posts of the past year. But it didn’t seem right to immediately plunge into deep historical details of the Aristotelian tradition, like I have been doing recently. I wanted to first begin to address the question “What is philosophy?”, not by directly asking it, but by example.

The first stage was to interleave capsule accounts of what I consider to be some of the great highlights of the history of philosophy with personal reflections on how this all relates to life. In a way I’m still doing this, but initially I remained closer to the trunk, so to speak. I’m now allowing myself to discuss some fairly esoteric historical questions, but still in the background am looking to what I regard as key moments or details in the history of philosophy for insight into what some have called the meaning of life.

As time has passed, I have also made more effort to explain things to possible readers, and to avoid wandering off on tangents. At the moment, I may be trying the patience of many with a lot of attention to neglected thought of the middle ages, but I hope I am providing enough clues to enable a thoughtful reader to begin to put together a much larger whole than I can encompass in any one post, through exploration of various links. I hope that at least for some, these seemingly esoteric details may turn out to have a larger relevance.