HOW TO USE THIS SITE – PART I

“Dialectic is the art of intellectual fencing; and it is only when we so regard it that we can erect it into a branch of knowledge.” – Arthur Schopenauer.

The site is set up with some introductory posts on the purpose of the site, author biography, and site use. The body of the site is and will be blogs of 250-500 words submitted three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, typically by 8 AM Eastern Time. Most of these will form the core of a book that will unfold over the next year or so. There is a table of contents which I will generally follow, but I reserve the prerogative to divert from this as circumstances and personal whim dictate, and especially as reader’s questions and comments lead me. There will be gradually increasing appendices including a bibliography, information on the philosophers, recommended websites, glossary, and special features. With time I hope to try out video blogs that clarify more difficult concepts, models, or diagrams.

Should you arrive at the site after it is in its later stages of development, you may wonder how to make the most of your time searching the site. I suspect that most will find the greatest benefit in reading though the posts on ‘The Big Picture.’ Later chapters will unpack for you my thought on what makes life meaningful, and should be rewarding as well. I believe you will find the “Top Fifteen Short Philosophical Quotes” will demonstrate the process I follow in extracting from earlier philosophers the practical wisdom we need to guide our lives. ‘The Philosopher’s Toolkit’ is less didactic and intended to provide useful methods to deal with the difficulties of life and self-mastery. If on the other hand, you are concerned about a specific problem such as evil, pain, or defense of belief in God, you can check ‘Specific Problems’ or check for the issue in the index. If you are dealing with the issues characteristic of a specific stage in life, ‘Philosophy for Every Age’ may be a good starting point. At any point you have access to my sources listed in the bibliography. The glossary should define any unfamiliar philosophical terms, at least as I am using them.

For those less interested in structure, check out Current Reading where I post blogs once or twice per month on my current philosophical reading; … sometimes we find enlightenment in desultory meditations.

You will notice most if not all sections start with a quote from a philosopher or other literary figure. I urge the reader to read each at least twice and think carefully about its message. All were carefully chosen. Remember, this site is intended to introduce the reader to philosophy mainly through the great thoughts of those who came before us, rather than stress one author’s formulation.

I wish to emphasize that philosophy is not the simple creation of a single individual. Plato describes it as a dialectic, meaning a dialogue or critical debate. My thoughts, in fact any individual’s thoughts, cannot and should not be taken as final. Comments, particularly well thought out criticisms are essential to furthering understanding in philosophy. One of my reasons for choosing to blog rather than write a book outright is the hope for input and useful criticism.