As the dates on the posts right below this one will show, I last blogged almost exactly a year ago.
Fear not, this does not mean I’m a lazy or uncommitted blogger. Rather, I did not feel justified diverting writing energies away from my dissertation at the time.
But now I am finishing up my dissertation and also looking to my next formal academic projects. While I do this I want to supplement the slow, painstaking process of precise academic writing that takes most of my energies with the sort of free-flowing and occasional writing that blogging affords. There are several reasons I am going to commit regular time to blogging here at Camels With Hammers.
1. I think best through dialogue with others and I write best when replying to the specific provocations of others’ writing and to their counter-replies to me. So, I want to use this blog as a place to air the 1st drafts of my ideas and get feedback from others that will inform my eventual conference papers and journal submissions.
2. Formal academic writing in philosophy offers little opportunity to engage the issues of the day in ways that draw on the insights abstract philosophy makes possible. So, I see an important role that a philosophy blog (like other academic blogs) can play in bridging the gap between rigorously technical and painstakingly developed academic theory and the rough and tumble of daily debate in the real world which happens in response to current events.
3. I take the standards of scholarship very seriously—which is a large part of why I have been very slow to submit most of my ideas for publication. But there are other valuable ideas and insights that deserve an airing too even though they don’t meet the bar of “original, vetted scholarship.” There is a place for freer speculation, curiosity, aimless musing, and dilettantism. For me, this will be that place.
There are other reasons of course to blog but those are for the most part subsumed within those three reasons, so that explanation should suffice as is.
As I mentioned in reason #1, I think the best when in dialogue, so I sincerely and eagerly solicit not only your vigorous challenges and suggestions in response to my blog posts but also your ideas for topics of blog posts. Feel free to lay down some gauntlets you’d like to see me run. Send your questions, suggestions of topics, or outright challenges to my positions via e-mail or as a comment on this very post.
In the meantime, forgive some imperfections as Dave Smith (my old friend, all-around nicest guy in the world, and volunteer web guru) gets the glitches worked out.
Finally, it should go without saying that I’d be honored and tickled if you add Camels With Hammers to your RSS feed, if you take the time to help any future posts you like go viral by using your favorite means for recommending blogs, and most of all if you reply to my posts in the comments section. As I’m sure you realize, commenting upon posts and recommending them to others salves the wounds of a blogger’s perpetually bleeding ego and warms the cockles of his attention-starved heart like little else. To inspire you to do this, I quote the words of the immortal Emily Dickinson with *slight* modifications:
If I can help one lonely blog
And bring new hope to it;
If I take one dead horse and flog
‘Til all its hairs are split.
If I facebook one single post
To help a friend of mine;
If it should help the blog the most
I’ll ceaselessly opine.
If I can spark one strong debate
Or stop another’s wane,
Or cause one ego to inflate
I’ll not have lived in vain.