There are several challenges I face running this blog. One is that I vary in both tone and content in ways that could potentially split my audience. My variations are intentional. It’s important to deal with topics from multiple angles. There is a time to be philosophical and a time to be polemical. There is a time to talk to atheists and a time to talk to believers. There is a time to think about morality abstractly and a time to apply it practically. Etc., etc. It is vitally important to me that I engage in both a range of important overlapping topics and to engage with each from alternating perspectives.
But readers may get frustrated with the inconsistency with which I pay attention to or follow up on the main issues of their concern. Temperaments and interests vary. I would like to consistently and reliably deal with the full spectrum of issues that I generally treat so that readers who come here for the discussion of their particular issues can know when and where they will find material on such topics. Plus, as burdensome as deadlines and formal commitments can be, and as much as having to write something particular can squash the desire to write about it, I do like the idea of letting a topic unfold at a pace of week to week posts. Long series overwhelm people. Too many posts in consecutive days on the same topic suffer from the law of diminishing returns, in my experience. Nonetheless, people want and deserve follow ups to the responses they give to what I write. And for a lot of topics I have been drafting enough material that there could be nice series comprised of loosely connected, standalone posts that would deal with important topics thoroughly. So it seems ideal to let my thinking and my dialogue with readers on each subject or with other bloggers unfold on a week to week basis.
So, weighing all these factors, here is my loose plan I am going to try to stick to starting next week after I get back from CONvergence.
I hope soon to resume doing live Sunday discussions, debates, and interviews on The Camels With Hammers Show. And either in addition or in alteration, I hope to regularly write fictional dialogues analyzing controversial topics and to engage in written debates with others, and publish them on Sundays. I may even start spotlighting excellent comments from the week on Sundays and making Sundays a day for running guest posts. Essentially I want Sundays to be a day for multiple voices on Camels With Hammers.
Interpersonal Ethics/Social Justice Mondays:
Since the very first week of Camels With Hammers, social justice has been a very important part of what this blog has been about. As far as I have always seen it social justice is a sphere of applied ethics. I want to take a day each week to write about matters of pressing, urgent importance to how we treat one another. The posts on social justice will be, as mine have always been, a mixture of topical, philosophical, and polemical, with some posts being tilted more heavily towards one or the other of those things and some posts being exclusively just one of those things. Not all posts on these days will be about social justice. Some will be about other ways we need to be good to one another that go beyond just not mistreating the marginalized. Occasionally this will drift even into posts about difficult dilemma cases in applied ethics generally.
While this will probably continue to regularly happen all week in one way or another, Tuesdays will promise to address atheism related issues. I’ll be doing atheist activism, defending atheists, criticizing atheists, discussing hot topics related to the atheist movement, discussing ideas for constructive non-theist communities, working out what might be called distinctively “atheistic philosophy”.
A big part of my goal with this blog is to simultaneously work out my technical philosophical views in novel ways that are of use to other seasoned philosophers and to educate and challenge those less experienced in philosophy. On Wednesdays I want to regularly deliver a post of straight up philosophy while remaining accessible to lay readers. Sometimes this may mean posts that are more education focused, other times the posts will be more about attaining novel philosophical clarity. Usually the topics will be related to moral philosophy since this is my favorite area of philosophy. But any number of times, I may opt to discuss a different philosophical subject that is on my mind.
A couple times in the spring I wrote posts that garnered a lot of attention and rejoinders from theists. And I dropped the ball on getting back to them in a timely fashion with follow up posts. I realize that theists may not enjoy this blog most of the time. They may even be outright put off by it. But sometimes they are here and willing to engage. And I want to really dig into issues with them. So, I am resolving to make Thursdays a day for addressing theists. I may write counter-apologetics, write about my frustrations with theists or religions, fisk a pro-theist article from another blog, or write a reply to theist comments on my previous week’s foray into engaging theists. I may also do open thread debates with theists in which I let theistic readers raise any topic and for the day I promise to respond to every theistic post in that thread.
Living Well Fridays:
My main priority on Fridays will be to practically apply rigorous philosophical thinking to help people live better, happier, and more ethical personal lives. I have been excited the last month to get my Friday’s Philosophical Advice column rolling and even though I dropped the ball yesterday because of CONvergence, I intend to make applying philosophical categories and reasoning skills to real people’s everyday dilemmas the blog’s signature Friday feature for a long time to come. Learn more about the series and find links to all the posts in it here. Submit your real world struggles you want advice on to camelswithhammers at gmail dot com and I’ll keep your name confidential if I write a post with my suggestions. Some Fridays I will alternate the “Philosophical Advice” column with fresh posts for my “How to Live Happily” series. I may also develop a series that will be something like “Better Know A Virtue” to explore what different virtues entail. Sometimes personal reflections that seek meaning in my personal experiences may feature on these days too.
I have never written enough about Nietzsche on this blog. It’s time I commit to a regular Nietzsche column. My preferred method of both teaching about Nietzsche and writing about him is to take a given text of his work and explicate its meaning, situate it within my framework of his larger project, and riff on my own ideas related to it. So, expect a lot of posts like that. And submit to me your challenges to write on particular sections from Nietzsche that (at least prima facie) seem to contradict my own ethical views or my own general interpretation of Nietzsche’s philosophy.
Of course current events may intervene on any given day of the week and I may sometimes write extra things about any given topic any given day of the week. But my goal is to provide at least one post on the day’s designated topic so that I am staying on top of regularly paying attention to it and so that readers can reliably know when to come looking for it if that’s what they particularly are interested in.
This is a bit experimental. Things may change. The plan may alter or be altogether abandoned (whether intentionally or from neglect). But I have a good feeling this is a wise path to take if I can muster the self-discipline for it. It may even be an aid to self-discipline itself, which is one of my motives for trying to adopt it.