About Writing
Re-engineering the process of developing this website.
Very briefly in place this page is an attempt at exhibiting the dynamic of the transition from the conception of "positive philosophy" on the previous home page and something better (still not in place). It was overtaken by a more general concern with making the web site more fully express the dynamics of my philosophical thought.
My top priority just now is to get myself into a comfortable way of working, in which thinking and writing are hand in glove and the writing gets to a fair picture of the thinking.
This section is at present more a temporary home for musings which belong elsewhere than a real introduction.
Early Thoughts

Since I'm not very clear at present on how to organise this material I am starting with some notes here which may later migrate to some other document.

The idea here begins with a bit of introspective narcissism on my part. I was passing through a period of intellectual exitement which I think may have been connected with the prospect of being able to spend a decent portion of my time writing. I have this constant stream of what seem to me like original and interesting ideas, and I feel like whatever topic I turn my mind to I can come up with something new to say about it (though I don't really know whether any of this stuff really is new). I like this so much that what I want to do is just capture the stream of ideas on paper (or better, in hypermedia) and this seems at first thought like a species of "stream of consciousness" writing.

That all happened back in ... well 1995 it says on my first note on the topic (not sure I believe that). I don't know whether I seriously tried it out. I do know that by the time I really came free to write seriously (say 1998) I had lost my bottle on this, and couldn't believe that dumping ideas on paper that recklessly would yield anything worth having. There ensued too many years in which I tried and failed to find a way of writing something "worthwhile", but in fact never ever got even a tiny fraction of the ideas which I valued properly written up, and didn't even manage to convert writing into an enjoyable passtime.

Now in 2006 I have turned full circle. I have despaired of anything more reputable, and am contemplating again the brute brain dump.

Why Stream of Consiousness?

The starting point for this material is my feeling that I have to move to something like "Stream of Consiousness" writing. This means that philosophy is taken in the first instance as primarily concerned with thinking about the world in search of understanding, in which enterprise sucess is at best partial, we move to a more complete understanding of our ignorance. It is therefore a process, without prospect of completion, rather than a task or project which sooner or later I expect to complete. The writing is then intended to expose these thought processes, and this is how the term "Stream of Consiousness" seems relevant.

Why Not?

The idea of "stream of consiousness" sounds like an account of something independent of the description which we give of it. It suggests that there is some mental process which would have taken place whether or not we observe or describe it, and which is not affected by the observation or the description.

In the literary genre of this name, this independence is plausible, because the author is engaged in fiction rather than autobiography. THe process which he goes through in producing a novel does not become a part of the novel.

In the kind of philosophy which I envisage this is not the case, the stream is autobiographical and the process is its own subject matter.

Writing and Philosophy
To an increasing extent I am aware of interconnections between my philosophy and my ideas about methods of writing. This is partly a consequence of a shift in my meditative center of gravity from analytic to existential philosophy (using both those terms loosely).
Some Significant Factors
  1. Topic, in general.
  2. Structure
  3. Philosophy as Art
  4. Art as Expression
  5. Whole Life Philosophy
  6. Romantic Self-fulfilment
  7. "Zen" and the art of writing
  8. Practical Scepticism in Writing
1. Topic Matters

This reflective character suggests a risk of purposeless infinite regress. This is not my intent, furthermore it seems to me that the subject matter strongly influences the way in which one approaches this kind of writing.

The first stake in the ground on topic is that I am expecting it to be philosophical (though probably not what an academic might recognise as philoosphy), and the second that the material is likely to be highly structured, systematic rather than piecemeal philosophy, at least in aspiration.

The need for a process in which a documented stream of thought yields a structured outcome has a significant impact on the structure of the website.

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