Below is a list of articles I have published both in journals and as chapters of books. If you drill down into many of the specific posts, you will find full text versions of those articles I have permission to post here.

Practicing Public Philosophy

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“Practicing Public Scholarship.” Public Philosophy Journal 1, no. 1 (2018). https://doi.org/10.25335/m5/ppj.1.1-1.

Situating the Public Philosophy Journal at the intersection of philosophy and questions of public concern, this essay articulates how the journal hopes to practice public scholarship through a formative review process designed to create communities capable of enriching public life.

This is the inaugural essay in the inaugural issue of the Public Philosophy Journal. 

Pragmatism and the Cultivation of Digital Democracies

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“Pragmatism and the Cultivation of Digital Democracies.” In Richard J. Bernstein and the Expansion of American Philosophy: Thinking the Plural, edited by Marcia Morgan and Megan Craig, 37–59. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2016.

As technology enables us to communicate with one another in unpredictable ways that allow for an unprecedented public exchange of diverse ideas, cultivating the philosophical habits of an engaged fallibilistic pluralism gains in urgency. Read More

The Liberal Arts Endeavor: The Arts of Liberty in a Time of Uncertainty

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“The Liberal Arts Endeavor: The Arts of Liberty in a Time of Uncertainty.” Journal of General Education, 65, 2 (2017), v-vi.

Even if, as Hannah Arendt suggests, “we are always educating for a world that is or is becoming out of joint,” 1 our commitment to general education as “a distinctive cornerstone of the arts of liberty” gains urgency in times of uncertainty.

Although we often think of liberty as a basic right bestowed upon us, it is more fundamentally an activity rooted in the human ability to begin anew. As an activity, liberty can be practiced well or poorly. Practiced well, the arts of liberty enrich our communities, enliven our connection with the natural world, and advance the cause of social justice. Practiced poorly, the arts of liberty diminish us, impoverish our relationships, and destroy the environment on which life depends. Read More

Reiner Schürmann: Care of Death

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“Care of Death: On the Teaching of Reiner Schürmann.” Philosophy Today, January 31, 2017. doi:10.5840/philtoday201713141.

A homage in the guise of an essay, this is the story of the last course Reiner Schürmann taught. As a text, it attempts to describe, situate, and come to terms with the power of Schürmann’s teaching in the context of his last lectures on Heidegger’s Being and Time. But if it is to be true to the deepest lessons of Schürmann’s thinking, it will also need to be heard as an invitation to interpret together the significance of his reading so that it may be permitted to shape the course of the lives of those who encounter it. Read More

The Liberal Arts Endeavor: On Editing the Journal of General Education

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“The Liberal Arts Endeavor: On Editing the Journal of General Education.” Journal of General Education, 65, 1 (2016), v-vii.

In accepting the editorship of the Journal of General Education: A Curricular Commons of the Humanities and Sciences, I am pleased to recognize the thoughtful and creative work of Jeremy Cohen and Patty Wharton-Michael, who have served as editors for the past four years, and of Catherine Jordan, who served as the editorial manager. They cultivated and nurtured a journal committed, as they so eloquently articulated, to general education “as a distinctive cornerstone of the arts of liberty.” Drawing on this enduring mission, the journal will be committed to furthering the arts of liberty as integral to our attempts to “prepare citizens to live engaged, responsible, and meaningful lives.” Read More

Public Philosophy and Philosophical Publics

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de Avlillez, André Rosenbaum, Mark Fisher, Kris Klotz, and Christopher P. Long. “Public Philosophy and Philosophical Publics: Performative Publishing and the Cultivation of Community.” The Good Society 24, no. 2 (2015): 118–45.

The emergence of new platforms for public communication, public deliberation, and public action presents new possibilities for forming, organizing, and mobilizing public bodies, which invite philosophical reflection concerning the standards we currently look to for coordinating public movements and for evaluating their effects. Developing a broad understanding of public philosophy, this article begins with the view of philosophy and intellectual freedom articulated in Kant’s publicly oriented writings. We then focus on the power of philosophical discourse to form and further articulate public bodies. Drawing on Dewey’s work, we discuss the role of philosophical discourse in the articulation of publics into self-regulated, sovereign entities. We conclude with an account of how publishing itself might come to play an important role in the practice of public philosophy in a digital age. Read More

On Touch and Life in the De Anima

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“On Touch and Life in the De Anima.” In Phenomenology and the Metaphysics of Sight, edited by Antonio Cimino and Pavlos Kontos, (Leiden: Brill Academic Publisher, 2015, 69-94).

Although Aristotle is often thought to give canonical voice to the priority of vision as the most noble of the human powers of perceiving, this article demonstrates that in Aristotle, touch has a priority vision lacks.

By tracing the things Aristotle says about touch in the De Anima and specifically the manner in which he identifies touch as a kind of mean condition, this essay argues that a deeper understanding of the nature of touch connects us humans more deeply to animal life and the natural world we inhabit. Read More

Tracking Plato’s Dogs

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“Who Let the Dogs Out? Tracking the Philosophical Life Among the Wolves and Dogs of Plato’s Republic.” In Plato’s Animals: Gadflies, Snakes, Stingrays, Swans, and Other Philosophical Beasts, edited by Jeremy Bell and Michael Naas, (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2015). Available in Open Access Format: http://hdl.handle.net/2022/19576

Identifying a sustainable model for open access publishing in the humanities is a challenge that calls for creative experimental solutions. The model that sustains the growth of open access scholarship in the sciences is rooted in federal funding mechanisms that are unavailable at the same scale for the humanities. This situation requires innovative collaboration between humanities scholars and publishers to develop sustainable ways to provide open access to humanities scholarship at scale.

I am happy to report here on one such collaborative experiment in open access publishing in the humanities. Read More

Matthew Paris: Plato and Socrates via fineartamerica.com

Cover Art: Matthew Paris's Plato and Socrates

By | Books, The Evolving Book, The Long Road | 3 Comments

This drawing from Mathew Paris (1217-1259), made famous more recently by Derrida’s disquisition on it in The Postcard, appears in a 13th century manuscript that contains a series of fortune-telling tracts. Now, with the generous permission of the Bodleian Library, the image will also appear on the cover of my book, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading, inviting readers to consider the enigmatic relationship between Socrates and Plato.

Read More

The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle

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“The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle.” In The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle, edited by Claudia Baracchi, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

Published in The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle (Bloomsbury Companions), this essay, entitled “The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle,” attempts to articulate the manner in which Aristotle’s thinking unfolds.

You can read the The Peripatetic Method on the Bloomsbury site, where they have made it openly accessible.

Drawing on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the remarkable series of lectures Frederick J. E. Woodbridge gave at Union College in 1930 entitled, simply, “The Philosophy of Aristotle,” but published under the title Aristotle’s Vision of Nature, this paper identifies the path of Aristotle’s thinking, its method, as a “peripatetic legomenology.” It is a legomenology because it attends carefully to the manner in which things are said (ta legomena), and peripatetic because it follows the things said as a way into the nature of things. Read More

The Evolving Book: Building into the CBO

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The CBO is Cambridge Books Online, the electronic books platform for Cambridge University Press (CUP). This is the platform into which Mike Chaplin and a team of programmers working for CUP will build the Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading.

Already at the beginning, I was worried that my vision of an open and fluid boundary between the written text and the online community of readers using social media to share ideas would dissolve as a rigid wall was established between the text and a wider public. Obviously, we are dealing with issues of access and questions of monetization, both of which are important concerns in a project like this, engaged as it is with a major University Press.

These concerns, however, have been assuaged, as Mike has sought my frequent advice and direction during these early phases of development. Right now he is playing around with mock-ups of the environment, and I have been suggesting models of online digital communication and interaction that might help provide a path to a more open, dynamic and interactive reading experience.

Toward More Opennness

Mike’s first mock-ups sought to integrate some of the features of highlighting and annotation into the CBO environment. I had suggested that the way Diigo allows you to highlight text on any web site and take notes, which can be made public or private, might serve as a model for us.

Figure 1.0: Diigo on the Uni(di)versity blog:

Diigo Screenshot

Here you can see the ability to highlight and add a kind of sticky note that can be private or publicly viewed. I like the little menu bar at the top right to add notes, bookmarks and highlights. I also like the new feature that Diigo has added with the little orange dot on the right margin that indicates an annotation is at that location. I’d like us to develop a way to use such dots to indicate points of common interest among readers. The idea would be that the dots would get larger and more intense in those spots where multiple highlights and annotations are being added, so that hot spots of conversation and interest can be easily identified.

Mike then developed this initial mockup of what the book might look like in a CBO environment.

Figure 1.1: Reading Inline

11 READ inline

Here the text appears immediately under the main area with information on the title, etc., with the sticky note metaphor floating in its own window outside of the main central column of text.

In the next image, Mike tried to illustrate how we might integrate social media into the system, bringing voices from outside into the the CBO environment and allowing those reading the book to share the text or their comments with wider social media communities.

Figure 1.2: Social Media and Notes

12 Social Media and Notes

Here you can see how facebook and blogger might be integrated, and in turn, how I as author might appear as part of the conversation.

Philosophical issues of authorial authority lurk here. Although I am identified as the author, I like how I am not afforded special status and that I would appear in line with other comments and annotations.

The design ought not to reinforce the aura of authorial authority.

My voice as author will, of course, overdetermine the nature and direction of the conversation simply by virtue of the fact that the conversation centers around the things I wrote. Because of this, I will need to participate in these conversations with care, attending to the manner in which my responses themselves will have weight and authority, even if that authority is being directly challenged in the comments and annotations.

Extending Beyond the Column

In thinking about how to integrate comments and social media into the experience, I was beginning to feel too constrained by the single column of content sandwiched between two wide expanses of Cambridge University Press blue. I suggested to Mike something along the lines of CommentPress.

Figure 1.3: Comment Press

13 CommentPress

Here I liked the clean look in which reading is clearly a priority, but elements of interaction are inserted by means of chat bubbles and a column on the right with two tabs: comments and activity.

Also, and importantly, the text is organized by paragraph marks, not page numbers, a feature I would like to see added to both the print and digital editions of the book. This would make referring to specific passages consistent between the paper and the digital formats.

Mike then responded with a mockup that extended the inline reading experience outside of the single main column.

Figure 1.4: Extended Column

14 READ inline Comments

Here you begin to see the manner in which social media profiles can be drawn upon and the comments and annotations can extend beyond the main column of text even as the annotation column would be easy to access, if desired.

Directions to Pursue

I would be interested in your thoughts and ideas about the layout and direction developed thus far.

A number of features now seem to be emerging as important:

  1. Paragraph reference markers in the digital and print editions should be established to facilitate cross referencing in paper and digital environments;
  2. Textual “hotspot” markers could be implemented to suggest emerging areas of reader interest;
  3. Design elements should not overdetermine and reinforce authorial authority;
  4. There is not, as yet, a space for more extensive and detailed conversation in a forum. For this, I have in mind a model of something like Discourse.org, but I think I am getting ahead of myself…

The Evolving Book: Introduction

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As my book, Socratic and Platonic Political Philosophy: Practicing a Politics of Reading, goes officially into editorial production on the print side of Cambridge University Press, I have started to work with Mike Chaplin on the innovative features of the enhanced digital book.

From the beginning, this book has sought to put a certain kind of public scholarship and engagement into practice by leveraging digital media to cultivate community around the ideas for which the book itself argues. So it is only fitting to continue in that spirit of publicness by sharing and reflecting upon the process by which we are developing what I hope are innovative aspects of the digital book itself.

Mike has graciously agreed to let me share some of his mockups as we work through how the book will ultimately look and feel in a digital environment. From the beginning of this project, the process itself has been the product; so it makes sense to document and reflect upon the process by which the digital book itself evolves.

The original book proposal was rather traditional, as I wanted it to go through all the standard processes of peer review required of any other manuscript submitted to Cambridge.

Robert Dreesen, the editor with whom I have been working, has been extremely supportive from the beginning. He saw the value of both the philosophical content of the book and the attempt to publish it in a way that performs the book’s central argument – that reading is a political activity.

In making that argument in the book, I trace the manner in which Platonic writing is designed to cultivate in readers three virtues of community:

  1. The ability to attend to the individual in concrete contexts so as to open new possibilities of more just relationships;
  2. A hermeneutical imagination capable of diagnosing the limits of existing political realities;
  3. The capacity to put a vision of the just, the beautiful, and the good into words that can enrich the communities in which we live.

What features of an enhanced digital book would cultivate such virtues of community? How can the design of the digital book itself embody and foster these virtues? How can I, as author, respond to readers in ways that model them?

These are the questions that will inform design decisions about the electronic book. Can we design a book to cultivate a community of readers capable of these virtues of community?

This series of posts under the heading The Evolving Book will be an attempt to articulate and document the process by which the book itself came into being.