Thursday, June 4, 2015


Today I'm breaking in some new habits, including regular project-oriented posts to this site.

"Delight Springs" was my first blog,starting in 2007. Since adding Up@dawn and its successor, and several course-related sites (CoPhilosophy, Atheism & Philosophy, The Philosophy of Happiness, Bioethics, and Environmental Ethics) in subsequent years, this one's suffered a bit of neglect. But it's still my main "day blog," and one of my new habits will be to post to it almost daily. The plan is to pose a thematic question each morning (or most mornings) on Up@dawn, then give it the day's working attention, and post some sort of reply here in the late afternoon. We'll see what that solves.

Solvitur ambulando, Diogenes Laertius reported Diogenes of Sinope ("the Cynic") to have retorted, in response to the paradoxical denial of motion's reality. He "solved" the paradox by literally moving away from it, a foot at a time.

It was the perfect solution. When concepts and thinking back us into a metaphysical corner we need simply and practically to break away.

Concepts and thinking regularly back all philosophers into such corners. The best of them do not sit there and stew, they break away. They enact Henri Bergson's insight that material paths lead to spiritual destinations, and Friedrich Nietzsche's characteristically-overstated claim that all great thoughts are conceived while walking.

And they mirror Rebecca Solnit's observation, noted with typically-uncanny timeliness by Maria Popova, that
the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness.
It's all about slowing down and paying attention to landscapes, inner and outer. That's how problems get solved. Or engaged,  at least.

This morning's inaugural question was how to define "relevance," with respect to various projects and one in particular: my Philosophy Walks book-in-process. I thought about that during this morning's walk - I try to get at least an hour every morning as soon as I've tired of black coffee -  and so far have trimmed little from my working definition: a book about walking and philosophizing can concern itself with just about anything. But if this is to be a finite project, with an end-in-view, that's still a little broad. More walks and thoughts are indicated. Stay tuned.

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