General Discussion: Introduction to Philosophy

  • Hi all,

    I’d be glad to help, especially if there is room for some discussion of free will and moral responsibility.

    Brett Castellanos

  • @brett.castellanos That’s great! We don’t yet have a section on free will and moral responsibility, but there should definitely be one. We have a draft Table of Contents here:

    Where do you think that discussion would best fit? Or should we have another section to the textbook than what we have on the list so far?

    Also, please add your information to the “people” tab that you find at the bottom of the sheet linked above; that’s where we’re keeping track of all volunteers.

    Thanks, and welcome aboard!

  • Hello, I am a librarian and editor with a philosophy degree, please be in touch for: Copyediting; Chapter reviews; or Proofreading support. Thanks!

  • administrators

    Hi @corinne, that’s fantastic, thank you! A librarian with a philosophy degree is a perfect combo for this kind of project :) We’ll be in touch when we get to the editing & review stage.

  • I would love to volunteer as a part editor or contributor the section on Social and Political Philosophy. I am an Associate Editor and serve on the Advisory Board for two journals housed in India. I have published several journal articles, book chapters, and book reviewers. I act as a peer reviewer for numerous academic journals as well.

  • @tjenki6 Welcome! We’re glad you’d like to help!

    Can you tell us a little more about yourself, or point to a page on the internet where we can find more information? Things like educational background, teaching experience, list of publications, etc.? We’d like to get to know the people who are going to work closely with us as editors! :)

  • administrators

    Hi all! We’re looking for a couple of new editors to start building out two or three more parts of this book – could that be you? The parts still to be covered are:

    • Metaphysics
    • Logic
    • Epistemology
    • Social & Political philosophy
    • Philosophy of Science
    • Philosophy of Mind

    Ethics and Aesthetics are well underway, and with them we’ve worked out a pretty good process for bringing a part together. The short version follows here, but you can read the full role description too.

    1. Part editor creates an outline with ~5-7 chapters in their area
    2. That outline is shared openly for feedback
    3. The outline is finalised
    4. The part editor works with the lead editor & project manager to find authors for each section
    5. The part editor (ideally) writes the intro and/or a chapter

    If you’re interested in taking this on for one of the areas of expertise listed above, please get in touch. If you haven’t already, let us know a bit about your background and experience, and we’re also happy to answer any questions.

    Looking forward to seeing this book expand!

  • We’re looking for chapter authors for the Ethics and Aesthetics portions of this textbook! I’m pinging people on this thread who had indicated some interest in writing a chapter (potentially) and who might have the relevant knowledge.

    Please see the chapter author guide for information on what being an author for a chapter entails.

    And a list of chapters needed, and a place to add your name, can be found at the top of each discussion thread for the Ethics and Aesthetics parts of the book.

    @drrobertfarrow @dr-wpdavis @joll-nicholas @bolaigeefealabi @paul-s-boswell @adam @iangoh @c-p-verdonschot @wturgeon

    Any questions, please just reply here!

  • Reading the table of contents for the Ethics section, I take it that it was decided Buddhist ethics will be rolled into the virtue ethics chapter together with Christian and Aristotelian ethics? Are you sure this can be done within <3000 words per chapter as the design document states?

    Also, I would like to once more suggest moving to a dedicated project-management app. Right now there are around 7 Google Docs documents, and I think keeping track of everything through them is going to become only more and more hectic.

  • @unfalsify I am not entirely sure that it can be done in such a short space, but I’d like to try. It’s really for the sake of saving space and avoiding ending up with too many chapters in this part. I’m thinking that this chapter wouldn’t really cover Buddhist Ethics as such (does such a thing really exist as a conceptually or historically well-defined type, as opposed to there being lots of things about ethics that Buddhists of various stripes have said down through the centuries?), but would instead be focused on the issues surrounding what it means to be a virtuous person as understood in three different contexts – Aristotle, Aquinas and Buddhism. Of course the last is itself far too big a category encompassing many different cultural contexts, so it would have to be limited to some smaller milieu, such as Mahayana teachings on the Paramitas or the Visudammagha, or some selections from material in the Pali Canon or even the Dhammapada. The idea is not to give a comprehensive account of Buddhism and ethics, but instead to sample different approaches to the topic of ethics and moral character. I know this is a change from what we spoke about earlier, but I think space requires a more streamlined approach and I did want to include as many different voices as possible in a short treatment of ethics in this text. What do you think?

    I am also inclined to agree about using some other platform. I find this site cumbersome and along with Google docs the whole thing is a bit sprawling. What do you think? Does it seem to you worth the effort to switch?

  • @geoslack @unfalsify I know that Rebus wanted to keep the planning open as much as possible rather than close it off in some other platform that others can’t see. However, if we do it on another platform and others could see what’s happening (really, for the sake of letting those interested follow along, and to track whether some practices for this kind of thing work better than others…since we’re sort of pioneering a new thing here with this book!) then that might be fine. it’s also the case that the more nitty gritty details may be worked out in a more private way rather than involving everyone in those…just too cumbersome.

    @zoe what do you think? I’d be happy to move to something else, as I’m finding this is a bit difficult to keep track of as well. I have to give all new people who are interested about five different links to things and I fear it’s overwhelming. This gigantic thread is overwhelming to them I’m sure! So I’m having people interested in Ethics & Aesthetics just focus on those threads instead of this one.

  • @geoslack I’m not sure what makes something a “conceptually or historically well-defined type”, but I’m pretty sure that we can point to certain characteristics that most - if not all - Buddhist would identify as the moral ideal. It is of course a very interesting question whether we should project Western systematization onto Eastern belief systems, but in the context of having a coherent set of beliefs about thought/action, I think Buddhism(s) can be said to have an ethic. As far as sampling goes, there is always the risk of being too picky with one’s samples; so while I think giving examples is good, it’s best to underline that they need not be indicative of general trends (because the body of work is simply so large). To say it in other words, I think it’s too easy to give a false idea of Buddhism(s) being either too esoteric, too vague, or even too cruel, depending on the choice of quotes.

    @clhendricksbc I believe Taiga meets your criteria. I can set up an example project and share it here so everyone can see how it functions.

  • administrators

    @geoslack @unfalsify I’ll jump in on the project management question – we at Rebus are actually in the process of building a dedicated tool for managing collaborative open textbook projects, so for the time being we’d like to keep things here on the forum as much as we can.

    For us, it’s incredibly valuable to see how a project comes together organically and is managed organically, without being boxed in by an existing project management software. This means we get an idea of the unique needs of this kind of project, and can try out certain features ‘by hand’ before encoding them. Already, the Intro to Phil project has helped us shape the first pieces of the software with the fantastic momentum that has built over the past few months, and we’re grateful to you for being a part of that!

    Now, this approach does mean things are a little chaotic at times, but splitting each part into its own thread goes some way to addressing this (avoiding the need to dig through this main thread). And in the next couple of months we should have a beta version of our own tool available to play with. We really appreciate your patience & understanding with the process until then, and we’re looking forward to sharing the results in the not too distant future!

    If it would help in the meantime, we could split off a version of the ‘project summary’ that people can refer back to (including documents), and turn this current thread into a general communication channel (it’s the best place to reach everyone who has shown interest in the project). What do you think?

  • @clhendricksbc Yes I get the idea of keeping things in the open, and would put up with the awkwardness of this forum to have that. But I’ll defer to your judgment on which way to go.

  • @zoe For me the issue is not so much with management, but with the difficulty of reading this forum. There is not a very clear grouping of discussions into threads, so if someone replies directly to an individual’s post, it gets nested underneath that post, while if someone replies to the discussion as a whole it get stuck at the bottom. Likewise with the other discussions, e.g. the Ethics discussion. It’s a bit of a pain to navigate there. In general I am finding it hard to get around and keep track of who is talking to whom about what.

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