“If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractus Logico-Philosophicus.
This body of the site will consist of a regular sequence of informational blogs that for the most part will appear as the ongoing composition of a philosophical manuscript, albeit not always following the chronological sequence of the book. However the second component of the site will consist of reader’s questions and comments and any dialogue that ensues by me and other readers.
I believe there are likely to be two types of questions. First there are likely to be general questions about philosophy, philosophers, the history of philosophy, and specific works in the literature. For the most part, the answers to this type of question may already be available on Wikipedia, and on other excellent websites such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu), one of my favorites. Therefore I will address this type of question in a more limited fashion with particular emphasis on the aspect of the answer that dovetails into the general progression of this site while referring the reader to a more comprehensive site or the original works involved. For example if there were a question about William James, I might talk about his thoughts on pragmatism, empiricism, and religious experience and not about his introduction to psychology, when citing the titles of the appropriate texts.
The second type of question is more specific; perhaps asking for a clarification about a prior post or a gap in the material, or involving a particular issue such as a current news story or a personal matter. In these situations, keep in mind that good responses require clarity in the question, including perhaps a defining of terms. For individual circumstance questions, share enough about yourself and the specifics, to assure the context is clear and let me know if you wish the answer to be private. For the most part, responses on personal matters are not likely to be definitive answers, rather clues or direction on finding an answer in the philosophical literature. In many cases I will suggest specific reading. For instance, if you are seeking a philosophical approach to dealing with troublesome people in your life, I might refer you to the Meditations, Book 2.1, by the stoic Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. (If you do not have a copy of that book, I urge you to get one – I keep one on my nightstand!… But it is available on line through the Stanford site).
One ground rule I wish to clarify is that I intend to review all comments and questions before posting them on this site. While I abhor censure, this is after all a private website, therefore I reserve the right to decline to post comments that contain expletives, racist language, bigotry, or are disrespectful of other readers. In that case I will respond to you offering the opportunity for you to modify your comment or question. In the case of repeated offense, I will suggest you seek another site for your expression.