Philosophy is a human activity requiring a heightened sensitivity to the world we inhabit and an ability to respond to complexity with nuance and a sense for what is just.

The Long Road is an attempt to blog a philosophical life.

Coffee, Smart Phones, and Open Access in the Humanities

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | One Comment

@cplong: Advocacy for Open Access in the humanities is gaining momentum. I myself have committed to reviewing articles for Open Access journals and am working with colleagues to develop a new model of open access online publishing in philosophy via the Public Philosophy Journal. But it’s easy to advocate for OA, especially for established scholars, but what are the wider implications of OA in the humanities, and what sustainable funding models can be identified that would make more scholarship openly accessible to a wider public?

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Adventures in Open Access: Plato's Dogs, Unleashed

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | One Comment

It was paragraph three, section b) of the Contributor Publishing Agreement from Indiana University Press that gave me pause.

In it I read that I would not be permitted to post the final published version of my article, “Who Let the Dogs Out? Tracking the Philosophical Life among the Wolves and Dogs of Plato’s Republic,” on my website until a full year after the date of its publication.

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Toward an Ethics of Philosophy in a Digital Age

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | 3 Comments

To honor the work of Richard Bernstein and specifically his influence as a teacher at the New School for Social Research, Marcia Morgan and Jonathan Pickle invited a group of his former students to write essays for a volume entitled The Philosophical Spirit of the New School: A Festschrift in Honor of Richard J. Bernstein. I am making a draft of my contribution available here for comment in an attempt to live out the argument I make in it about the ethics of philosophy as a practice of public communication.

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Seeding Publics from a World of Readers

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | One Comment

In his own essay on Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?,” Foucault ascribes to Baudelaire a modern attitude that captures well the spirit of Kant’s public essay on enlightenment.

For Baudelaire, according to Foucault, modernity is “an exercise in which extreme attention to what is real is confronted with the practice of the liberty that simultaneously respects this reality and violates it.”

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Philosophy and the Art of Live-Blogging

By | Blogging and Social Media, The Long Road | One Comment

As a discipline, philosophy is struggling to come to terms with the public affordances of social media. This is a bit surprising given that Socrates himself never shied away from publicly engaging those he encountered in philosophical discussion.

But that was a long time ago, and philosophy has long since established itself as a profession.

The forces of professionalization seem to recoil as audiences dare to publicly share through social media ideas heard at academic conferences and scholarly presentations.

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Beginning Anew with #PSUGenEd

By | The Administrative Life, The Liberal Arts, The Long Road, The Undergraduate Experience | No Comments

At the Penn State General Education Spring 2014 retreat, we decided to begin anew with GenEd as we try to find ways to feasibly adopt a curriculum that would be animated by substantive integrative learning outcomes. At the retreat, we ripped up the planned agenda, and started thinking anew about how to create a curriculum worthy of our Penn State students.

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The Most Innocuous Freedom, Everywhere in Chains

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | 10 Comments

In his famous 1784 essay, What is Enlightenment?, Kant identifies the activity of enlightenment with a certain way of being public. This post considers that essay as a performance of public philosophy, arguing that in advocating in public for the public use of reason, Kant is engaged in an important public philosophical practice: the attempt to use words to cultivate the habits of mature thinking and acting in and with the public.

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Matthew Paris: Plato and Socrates via

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.

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General Education Reform at Penn State

By | The Administrative Life, The Liberal Arts, The Long Road, The Undergraduate Experience | One Comment

The Information Technology unit at Penn State holds IT Matters breakfasts a few times a year. This semester I joined colleagues on stage to talk about my work and how it intersects with IT at Penn State.

Because we have partnered with Brad Koslek and the TLT Studio to create a dynamic online space of dialogue and conversation about General Education reform at Penn State, they asked me about the PSUGenEd reform process. My 4 minute riff on GenEd, its importance, and how we are trying to change it at Penn State is embedded below.

Our partnership with the TLT Studio has gone some distance in modeling a way of using digital media to cultivate community around an important education reform issue. Because Penn State is a single university geographically dispersed, the GenEd Matters site has become a kind of marketplace of ideas and information about the GenEd reform process. We have sought to include a wide public in these conversations and, as a result, we have received an enormous amount of very helpful feedback on the process and suggestions for the emerging curriculum.

The site is continually being updated, its functionality improved even as we use it to engage in conversation. It’s a little like rebuilding the ship of Theseus as we sail it. Still, it is an intensely collaborative endeavor as we think about how design impacts discussion and how transformative reform can be undertaken in and with a thoughtful public.

You are invited to watch the video and join the conversation.

#PSUGenEd and the Research Endeavor

By | The Administrative Life, The Liberal Arts, The Long Road, The Undergraduate Experience | No Comments

We at Penn State are engaged in an intense, ongoing and, in my view, very healthy dialogue about General Education reform.

In order to integrate the research endeavor into the undergraduate experience, we ought to more intentionally engage leaders of our university institutes and college centers as we develop coordinated clusters of courses around specific research themes.

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To Be Published or To Be Read

By | Digital Scholarship, The Long Road | 12 Comments

To be published or to be read, that is the question scholars increasingly face.

Although publications with reputable university presses or journals continue to be the cornerstone of the tenure and promotion process, many remain inaccessible to a broad audience, bound up, as they often are, in paper volumes or locked behind paywalls required by the outmoded business practices of scholarly publishers.

Take this recent experience as illustrative of the situation scholars committed to Open Access face.

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