Happy New Year

If anyone is reading this blog you know it has been dead for the past year and has had at least one massive design and content change. With a new year I’m aiming to breath new life into this site. It is after all my “digital home”, where I present myself and my work to the public. That will all be here and hopefully something of a new project I am developing might manifest as well.

Sometimes however the blog might take a more “journalistic” tone. I may post comments on “current” happenstance, local national or international news, scientific developments, or peculiar novelties. At times these may appear partisan, especially when addressing “political” happenstance.

I am fascinated with public conceptions of philosophy, and as a professional philosopher I might have something to say about it. I will return to the figure of the philosopher, what I think philosophy is, what it does and what it isn’t fairly regularly.

Finally, as a college instructor I encounter brilliant and creative students daily. Sometimes I may reply to them, or address questions that originate from them. They can be absolutely brilliant, and in a way they are the reason for this site.

I hope you’ll check back regularly, over the next few days I will be implementing and integrating more social networking tools with the site.

The next post will be rather topical. Following the tragedy in Connecticut, I was asked about the relation between the media and violence in our society. I will not be addressing this particular question, but I will address the discourse that has developed politically and socially after the tragedy.

Happy New Year.
Stay Tuned.

Mapping the History of Philosophy

This is an interesting piece called Graphing the history of philosophy on Drunks&Lampposts. It uses data sets from Wikipedia’s “Influenced” sections on entries of philosophers. Interestingly the graph also groups together philosophers from related ‘schools’ of thought, the section above is cut from the “Continental” tradition.

From Simon Raper,

Each philosopher is a node in the network and the lines between them (or edges in the terminology of graph theory) represents lines of influence. The node and text are sized according to the number of connections (both in and out). The algorithm that visualises the graph also tends to put the better connected nodes in the centre of the diagram so we see the most influential philosophers, in large text, clustered in the centre. It all seems about right with the major figures in the western philosophical tradition taking the centre stage. (I need to also add the direction of influence with a arrow head – something I’ve not got round to yet.) A shortcoming however is that this evaluation only takes into account direct lines of influence. Indirect influence via another person in the network does not enter into it. This probably explains why Descartes is smaller than you’d think. It would also be better if the nodes were sized only by the number of outward connections although I think overall the differences would be slight. I’ll get round to that.

The full file can be found Here. It’s licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.