Here’s an interesting TED talk about why you may want to hire “the scrapper.”
Here in Central Florida, we got our first chill of the season today. It was cool enough to wear a jacket, which is saying something in Florida. I always look forward to the chilly weather. Maybe I wouldn’t look forward to it so much if I lived somewhere else. But in Florida, we get so few chilly days, that I look forward to getting into a holiday spirit and drinking some hot chocolate.
How about you? How’s the weather were you are at? Do you look forward to chilly days?
Perhaps I shouldn’t say “favorite.” Maybe a philosopher you’ve spent a lot of time reading.
I have to say that the philosopher I spent most time reading and trying to understand is Kierkegaard. I don’t want to get into politics or religion here necessarily, but there’s no way to really understand Kierkegaard without understanding Christianity. Now, one doesn’t need to be a Christian in order to study a Christian thinker, which Kierkegaard was.
I learned about Kierkegaard for the first time in Introduction to Philosophy, where we read Fear and Trembling, and then further in an undergraduate seminar on existentialism. That seminar, taught by a Kierkegaard expert, did manage to divorce Kierkegaard from Christianity by focusing mostly on Kierkegaard’s existential ideas.
After that course, and with help from the experts at Stetson, I studied Kierkegaard on my own. He is a difficult philosopher to understand because of his various pseudonyms, editors, and the like, who are found all throughout his work.
One thing seems clear, however. Kierkegaard seems to have thought it was not possible to make an argument for the existence of God. At the time, there were many thinkers who were trying to get at some-kind-of-Truth (capital ‘T’). Kierkegaard was very much against those projects. He seems to have thought that God can only be known by faith–making a leap to faith. But leaping to faith is itself an act of faith, which Kierkegaard was well aware of. He describes this in detail in various books and essays.
Kierkegaard was also very much concerned with Christian ethics. This is something I was reading about recently, as my specialization is in ethics. Kierkegaard thought that internal devotion was as important as outward displays. In other words, “Christian acts” are not the only thing one should be doing. One should also be internally aligned with God. This is because we can act for show, or for many other reasons. Therefore, acts of love (for lack of a different term) are not sufficient for being a Christian, though they are important nonetheless. Kierkegaard heavily emphasized the individual and her relationship with God.
So acts and internal states are both necessary for being a Christian, which was one of Kierkegaard’s central problems; How to be a Christian in Christendom.
I have found much of Kierkegaard’s writing edifying. I suggest, for an edifying discourse, to read his Works of Love. And, of course, Fear and Trembling is to be read in order to grasp one way of understanding the dilemma Abraham faced when told to sacrifice Issac.
Today is World Philosophy Day. The U.N. put out a statement regarding the celebration of this day.
I studied philosophy for several years, and still keep active in the field by being on the editorial committee of an academic journal.
I remember my first philosophy professor, Dr. Rob Brady, at Stetson. He was a dear man, and I recall him saying, “There is nothing beyond philosophy.”
He said this when we were discussing the definition of philosophy, which is an endeavor itself.
But I remember thinking that, if philosophy encompasses everything, that’s the major for me! And, it’s true, there is a philosophy of everything.
I started researching indigenous studies as an undergraduate. I did my senior thesis on Native American colonization. I developed some great friendships and gained excellent experience. I have written, given lectures, and invited talks on indigenous studies. I am acquainted with top scholars in the area. One of them, Steve Russell, wrote a very interesting book on the subject: Sequoyah Rising. When he was writing the book, he asked me to go over part of the manuscript. I did. I also gave him some feedback, and was credited in the acknowledgements section.
I watched this interview with Laszlo Block last night on PBS. I’m very interested in reading the book!
One of the projects I have worked on has to do with mental illness. I worked as a case manager and I found that, in my area, there were few resources available to my clients. A friend and I came up with the idea of a website that could serve as a resource for people with mental illness, their friends, family, and supporters. My brother, Jeremy, enhanced the idea. He proposed creating a social media site. We all collaborated and came up with the website A Dose of Reality.
If you are interested, you can sign up and communicate with like-minded individuals.
Recently, my neighbors and I found out that the lake we live on is now a protected environment. This happened after years of action in my community. There had been some serious development that threatened the habitat of many species there, including eagles, ospreys, and many other organisms. Kudos to my neighborhood!
A while back, I did some work with a local environmental non-profit. I did river clean-ups, managed volunteers, and, most importantly, networked with local business people. I was happy to get the chance to do this kind of work. I thought of this experience when I was looking back at some old photos of me. There are very few photos of me on the job or volunteering. But, this is one. Here I am at a river clean up, where I was thinking about how to grow the non-profit, and organize volunteers. The non-profit itself is very good, and I liked working for the Executive Director there.
It’s hard to believe that it was six years ago that I was working on the book Reading Bernard Williams. I was privileged to edit some really great essays, and gain valuable experience in editing and writing. Although the editor, Dr. Daniel Callcut, was kind enough to give me a hard-copy, I bought the e version recently and read it. The copy that Dr. Callcut gave me had an inscription in it that I keep framed.
I have traveled throughout much of central and the eastern United States. I thought it would be fun to fill out one of these maps to show where I’ve been. I’ve traveled to Washington D.C., New York, NY, Dallas, TX, and more. I made this map with amCharts. Feel free to make your own and let me know where you’ve been.
UPDATE: I just noticed that I forgot to put on my map that I’ve been to Denver, CO. Well, no matter what the map says, I have indeed been to Denver!
As many who know me know, I worked in academia for quite some time. In fact, I still do. I am on the editorial committee of an academic journal. But that’s not all. I am also on Academia.edu. This is a great site in which I can follow academic topics I am interested in. I can also follow the work of people who inspire or provoke me. I have uploaded some of my academic work there, and will do more in the future. If you are an academic, I encourage you to go to Academia.edu to see whether you would like to set up a profile. If you do, let me know. I will follow your work. I am interested in most everything.
The other day I went to Green Springs Park with a good friend of mine. We walked around, enjoyed the great weather and the nature trails.
Green Springs is aptly named. The major spring itself is, in fact, green. Here are some photos I took while I was there.
This is the main spring. As you can see, it is actually green.
Here is a stream from the spring.
And here is one of the roadways in the park.
All in all, it was a great day. I will definitely visit Green Springs again!
Two months ago, I visited Chicago. I stayed for a long weekend, and, during that time, I visited the Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago SkyDeck, and the Art Institute of Chicago. I had a great time. All the exhibits were excellent. Below are some choice pictures.
This is the outside of the Museum of Science and Industry.
This is me in front of the nation’s only U-Boat:
And here I am in front of the Art Institute of Chicago:
Lastly, here I am at the Chicago SkyDeck:
Chicago is a wonderful place. I used the train or Metra to get everywhere I went. The Art Institute had many paintings I really, really appreciated. I took several pictures while I was there and thoroughly enjoyed my visit.
As people who know me know, I have a history of blogging. I blogged at UNF for the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and slowly moved my work over here.
This blog will be different. I aim to post about things going on in my life. I recently went to Chicago, for example. I will post pictures from that. I also went to Green Springs with a friend. I will post photos from that trip. So, this blog will contain my life experiences so as to fit in with the other content on this site.