Today I received a box, and in that box were six objects with a certain degree of heft, a solidity I did not quite expect. The objects in question were copies of my new book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth.
It is difficult to articulate how strange it is to hold in one’s hands the concrete manifestation of years of intellectual labor. It feels so … mundane, so … prosaic. It is a book, like the thousands of other books one finds all around one. And when you show it to someone, they celebrate with you a bit, saying how proud you must be, how great it is that this thing here is accomplished.
And of course, this is a book about Aristotle, indeed, about the nature of truth in Aristotle, not exactly the sort of book most people find easily accessible. So the discussion focuses, as it must, on the thing itself – this book here, which is so obviously something real … not like those hours of work and thought in dialogue with commentators both long dead and still living.
But this thing here, this object, has in it those hours of intimate struggle, those moments of self-doubt and exhilarating insight. I can open a page and recall almost palpably where I was sitting when I wrote that, or what was happening in my life when, in the course of its development, that specific part of the book found the words to give it shape.
Strange now, though, that this intimate and very personal struggle is now a concrete something for others to share, if they so choose. And while I hope they do engage it in a substantive way, still, it is likely that the thing itself, this book here, is just a mile marker on a longer road that seeks to put words in the service of relational justice.