Monday, July 8, 2013


101. Survey of contents of this blog

In the year that I am now running this blog I placed 100 items. On this occasion, an interview was posted on YouTube. It is time, I think, to give a survey of contents.

In this blog I have widely traversed the field of philosophy, with its traditional issues of religion, the true (knowledge and truth), the good (ethics and morality) and the beautiful (art), plus language and meaning, identity, freedom, power, trust, culture, and causality. I look at these from two connected perspectives: Self and Other, and Imperfection on the Move. Those have been discussed more at length in two books (Beyond humanism; The flourishing of life, self and other’ published in 2012, and ‘Beyond nihilism: Imperfection on the move’, under review).

The overall gist of the blog can be put as follows. Humanism can no longer rest on unrealistic ideals of the rational, autonomous self, and should get away from the obsession with self. Universals should be taken lightly, respecting the variety and change of contexts, which cause universals to shift. Humanity and society entail variety and change rather than fixed universals. Self and society are shot through with irrationality. The self needs the other, also to be free from its own prejudice. There is no afterlife except what one leaves behind after one’s death. Human endeavour is imperfect but one try to make the best of it, and flourish in doing so, in ‘imperfection on the move’.   

Contents of the blog (numbers and topics in bold indicate items read at least 20 times, numbers that bold and underlined have been read at least 50 times)

 Items               content

1,2,3,4             Introduction: what philosophy, questions, background and credentials
5                      Free will? We have no control over our will, but we do have ifluence on it
6                      Love: eros and philia
7                      Geometry and Finesse (derived from Pascal)
8,9,10,11,12    Identity. Personal and cultural; how fixed and exclusive are they?
13,14,15, 94    Religion. The human condition, God, religion without a god
16,17,18,19     Universals: universalism, change, imperfection on the move
20,21,22          Enlightenment and Romanticism
23,24,25,26,27Knowledge and truth; our thought is constructed but still realistic, in
28,29,30,31     a sense. Philosophy on the move: Pragmatism, evolution, invention
32,33,34,35,36Language and meaning. The meaning of meaning, prototypes, linguistic
 37                   bias, hermeneutics, meaning change
38,39,40,42,42Ethics and morality. Aristotelian virtue ethics, the good life, justice,
43,44,45,46,47nationalism, (in)tolerance, integration, altruism, populism, immorality of
48                    the group.
49,50,51          Freedom. Positive freedom, levels of freedom, freedom from the self, power
52,53,54,55,56Self and other. History of the self, narcissism, self-interst, humanism,
57,58,59          the value of difference, interaction, flexibility
60,61,62,63,64Nietzsche and Levinas.Nietzsches error, Levinas, Nietzsche and
65                    Levinas, otherhumanism
66,67               Collaboration. Value, problems
68,69,70,71,72 Trust and control. Meaning, sources, identification, judgement of
73,74,75,76     good and bad, openness, exit and voice, psychology, community
77,78,79          Beyond Enlightenment and Romanticism. Incommensurability
80,81,82,83,84Art. Forms, serenity or excitement, evolution, nature, universal and
85,87,88,89,90 specific, subjective and objective, music, wabi-sabi, aesthetic
91,92,93          judgement, art and ethics, education, change, a new culture?
86                    What market?
94                    From fear to faith
95                    Conditional imperatives
96,97,98,99,    Multiple causality. Goal achievement, science and policy, role models,
100                  explaining history                 

So far, the blog has had 5.700 page views in 56 countries: 24 in Europe (including Turkey), 19  in the near and far East (including Russia, Ukraine and Australia), 9 in the Americas, and 4 in Africa. The top ten countries of readership were: The Netherlands, Rumania, the US, Germany, Russia, France, the UK, Switzerland, the Ukraine and Italy.

The first 60 items have been read much less, with a few exceptions, than the following 40. Of the items below 60 only 9 were read at least 20 times, and only two at least 50 times. Of the last 40 items 39 were read at least 20 times, and 23 at least 50 times. Perhaps this difference is due to new readers coming in later, who do not easily trace early items. I would like to encourage them to browse back, and the survey given here may help.

It strikes me that three of the traditional ‘big subjects’ of religion, the true (knowledge), and the good (ethics) draw little attention, but the traditional subject of the beautiful (art) does draw attention. However, trust is related to ethics and it does draw much attention. Trust and art arose in the last 40 items, and perhaps that is why they drew more attention.

In the following item in this blog I will reflect on how to proceed. Suggestions are welcome, and can be posted as a comment on the blog.