About

“In truth, ‘about’ is no jack with which to lift the vehicle of philosophy.” P. M. S. Hacker

What is this blog about? Anything I can say seems to me to be blatantly provisional, and maybe saying that is itself enough…..

But since I generally talk too much, let me try again (I’m working on brevity, believe me!):

What is this blog about? Why does that seem like such a big question to me? A fraught question? As if the question presupposes a correct answer. As if the mere capacity to formulate the idea as a question illuminated some hidden part of reality that required examination, poking and prodding until its secrets are revealed. The question almost suggests the blog needs to be ‘discovered’, in some sense, even by me, its author. Don’t I know?

Maybe a better way to look at it is that I am tasked with inventing this blog, and the blog was birthed from no particular purpose. It simply came to be. Im Anfang war die Tat. The blog is not ‘explained’ by a purpose.

I could have a purpose, I suppose, but I also could have several things or nothing specific at stake in writing here. I can decide later and also change my mind. So the question is “What would be described by giving an answer for its purpose?”

What the blog is ‘about’ is actually the wrong question, maybe a meaningless question. Certainly a bad question. Just like asking what a person’s life is about. We might be able to cobble answers together, but mostly that seems either contingent, provisional, or largely irrelevant, giving an answer simply for the sake of saying something, anything, to fill the space after the question mark…….. Such is the sad fate of far too many questions……

Not all questions really are questions, and maybe that is part of what this blog will spend time with. Also, one special hang-up I have is the difference between the things we accept as open to question and what is excluded from question. If you look closely, we do not navigate a world uniformly open to question. This difference is a matter of where such things stand in our lives. There are things we measure, that it is possible to know and to doubt, and there are also things that we use as the measures, that stand fast while the rest is explored. The hinges, in Wittgenstein’s words.

Questions may seem innocent, but every question sets up expectations for an answer in its own way. The questions are not free standing or agnostic. Sometimes (often…. always?) only tentative answers to the right questions are better than even brilliant answers to the wrong questions…..

But I guess we can also look at bad questions if only to see the difference.