Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Use of Philosophy


It had to happen. This article is little more than a plug for my website, Melbourne Philosophy. Well, it is a little more. It's more because it's also a description of the reasons for having the site Melbourne Philosophy, what I stand for, and what I am trying to accomplish.

I don't usually keep a diary. I have no other blogs. The blog and the website exist because I'm passionate about philosophy, and I think a lot of other people are really interested in it, but don't understand what it can do for them. To me, philosophy is the ultimate servant. Or tool. Whatever. It helps us reason, build good metaphors, respond quickly to situations and ideas because we have thought about their consequences as a matter of principle. Some people regard doing the right thing in politics or business or personal life as somehow beyond them, or too difficult, or whatever. Philosophy has helped me by giving me access to patterns of ideas that others have used in coming to terms with the world around them. However, I have come to it by a winding path, first by reading thoughtful books, then through discussion with my family and friends, and only recently through any kind of concerted study.

So, what difference does one more website make? Unfortunately, virtually all existing philosophy websites fall into two groups. Amateurish attempts with and agenda or pushing a particular personal view, and institutional sites created by either professional associations or student societies. These all have their place, but leave behind an unfilled niche. That niche is for people interested in philosophy, who wish to have a reasonably authorative website guiding them through the paradigms of philosophy in a way that meets their contexts. Simply - something they can rely on and use easily.

Melbourne Philosophy is not authorative in the way that, say, the Cambridge Dictionary is authorative. But it has been created by someone with some understanding of academic philosophy, with an eye to minimising disinformation. So, what will you find on the site?

The two areas with most activity are the submitted articles page and the radio archive page. From here, you can get access to philosophical material in whatever media most suits you. The site is still young, so will hopefully attract more traffic as people see how useful it can be. Planned additions are book and film reviews, as well us guides or walkthroughs to particular concepts and ideas.

I believe that interest in philosophy will spread, and I want to be right in the middle of it.


Blogger a process of emanation said...

I love the wiki idea for the philosphy site. Unfortunately, I'm not so smitten with the 'philosophy as tool' philosophy. I used to try and put my philosophy studies to good work on my day to day life, by writing logicial reflections etc... only to dig myself into deeper and deeper holes. After reading the 'Consolations of Philosophy' by - can't remember the guys name, something Alain de ___, and I can't see it on my bookshelf - well, after reading that, I just felt bored. It didn't help. It grudged up a past of relfective madness.

That said, I love reading philosophy as a meditative aid, writing it from a perspective one step away from myself, and embedding it into a subconscious that will hopefully one day do some good. I love that I can more readily identify irrationality or incommensurability in my world of science, but subject it to my own life and I'm still irrational and discussing it is incommensurably disastrous. Hopefully this site will help... and hopefully I'll have time to help add to it in the near future...

9/30/2004 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I think the purpose of philosophy is to learn how to live well. But I couldn't put it better than the Roman Stoic, Seneca:
"Philosophy is not an occupation of a popular nature, nor is it pursued for the sake of self-advertisement. Its concern is not with words, but with facts. It is not carried on with the object of passing the day in an entertaining sort of way and taking the boredom out of leisure. It moulds and builds the personality, orders one's life, regulates one's conduct, shows one what one should do and what one should leave undone, sits at the helm and keeps one on the correct course as one is tossed about in perilous seas. Without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry. Every hour of the day countless situations arise that call for advice, and for that advice we have to look to philosophy."

Philosophy is important.


5/27/2005 04:58:00 PM  
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1/12/2014 04:12:00 AM  

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