Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thinkin' Blogs

Troutsky tagged us for the thinking blog meme. Thanks, Troutsky, for the kind things you say about us. It's much appreciated. I think this means that we win a Thinking Blogger Award. I think... See!?

Here are five blogs that make me think:

1. Subtopia
2. Motel de Moka
3. Philosopher's Playground
4. Global Guerillas
5. BibliOdyssey


If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).


Let me say a little something about my choices above. I generally don't find much orthodox philosophy to be very interesting any more, though my PhD is in Philosophy and I continue to read some of it and write some. This is a contingent, disciplinary issue. I love philosophy and I think it can make serious contributions to social and political well-being, individual well-being, environmental well-being, and carving out new possibilities for human thought and experience. But much of disciplinary philosophy is engaged with problems which have arisen through the disciplinarity of the discipline. There's nothing inherently wrong with this. It's simply that I lose interest when philosophy starts spending all of its time talking about itself.

So, though the natural route for me might be to choose a few philosophy sites, I've only chosen one, Steve G's place. The reason is that Steve spends much of his time not only thinking about serious philosophical issues, but also about why these ought to matter to non-philosophers. The guy is apparently a great teacher, and I think that is evident from his blog posts - their substance, their easy-going tone, and their candidness. Steve is a natural. He makes me think not only about the issues he's discussing, but also about what it means to do philosophy and what we should want philosophy to be able to do.

As for the others, I prefer to be taught something. These blogs teach me in different ways, and not necessarily because they set out to be explicitly pedagogical, but because they set out to share an intelligent passion for a subject or set of issues. They all take a real joy in what they do even if the issue at hand isn't a joyful one. They have intellectual passion, if we view the intellectual as not requiring a particularly rigid mode of linguistic expression.

Subtopia is a terrific blog on the "militarization" of space/place. Bryan Finoki prompts reflection on the space around us, the built environment, and how we live through them as we do any social or political institution. You can read a lot about a people by observing their space, sometimes lessons that are otherwise incapable of being verbalized.

Motel de Moka is a music blog. The good folks here teach me quite a bit about contemporary music from all genres. If it weren't for them, I'd be much poorer in terms of the music of my life.

I find Global Guerillas to be - sorry, John (but I mean this in a good way) - really wacky. John Robb is looking at the nature of violent conflict in the 21st Century and doing so through solid empirical analysis but also extremely interesting flights of speculation. And he's usually spot on. He often poses questions that the DC thinktank folks really should be asking but aren't. John sees things in both the short and long-term. Thinktanks and talking heads usually can't see past the weekend or are incredibly sloppy when they attempt to.

BibliOdyssey is a wonderful, idiosyncratic site. PK delves into the libraries of the world to find illustrations, prints, etchings, paintings, and other images that are otherwise forgotten except to archivists. The stories they tell about human existence are as fascinating, if not more so, as any narrative history or philosophical explanation. In the process, worlds open up, turn, disappear, reappear in contemporary contexts, and constantly show us how far the human imagination can extend into the world and out of it.

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