A Note For Philosophy Non-Specialists About This Blog

Please, if your specialization in life is not philosophy, do not feel unwelcomed when encountering the sorts of detailed phiosophical discussion that this blog specializes in.

When I write on here I am going to write in the clearest and most precise way I can about the philosophical issues that arise in my research on a daily basis and those which arise from readers’ challenges to my thought.

There are two ways, though, to write clearly and precisely.  (1) One is on a highly technical and specialized level which uses terms all members of a discipline or a subdiscipline are familiar with.  These terms are clear and precise insofar as those familiar with the discipline understand the terms and whole constellations of accepted meanings that they impy.  For people in a field, this “jargon,” is a way of referring to concepts already worked out elsewhere and accepted in a quick and shorthand way (rather than having to long-windedly reinvent the wheel and redescribe familiar concepts to the field in every discussion).

(2) The other way to be clear and precise is take the time to translate the jargon of a field back into laymen’s terms to make the debates in the field clear to non-specialists so they can understand why the questions asked are asked and what purpose each of the concepts developed has.

The word “layman” here is a broadly inclusive one.  I am essentially a “layman” in every field but philosophy and theology for example simply because outside of these specializations I do not have a precise grasp of complicated theories and jargon.

As a teacher, I am very concerned to reach out to my lay readers and encourage them to use this blog as a place to inquire about philosophical jargon that they find a barrier to understanding what a given philosophical argument (or philosophy in general) has to offer.

I hope to mix posts that engage other philosophers with posts that encourage philosophical inquiry by non-philosophers.  And often that’s going to mean catching the non-philosophers who read the blog up to speed on our basic questions, categories, and terms.  Readers do me a great, great service when they offer their philosophical questions, challenges, and requests for clarification.  So, please do not be shy if you find this blog challenging or obscure to express that to me and give me the chance to make it a place which maximally serves your ability to understand and enjoy philosophy and to develop your own ideas.  And if you disagree with me, feel as encouraged as possible to express why so that we can have a fruitful, clarifying discussion about what we’re both thinking.

Thanks for reading!

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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