RE: New Name? Plus More
H'OKAY: So I ended up touching on several bases here regarding general thoughts about this blog. Sorry that I jump from issue to issue, I just had lots of thoughts come to mind, and could not really hold back sharing them. All thoughts about my thoughts are definitely welcome. (I decided to just make this another entry since I ended up touch on so many different topics. Certainly, if you want to just suggest a new name, for whatever reason, comment on Sarah's post, to separate them off from this one.)
I definitely prefer the new look. :)
As for name, I can't say that I thought it suggested such Quinean love, I thought it was just rather cute. I would be fine with whether it stayed or changed. I'm trying to come up with something witty and clever to suggest.
But before I make any suggestions, I guess there is a question that can be asked about the general nature of this blog:
What sort of impression (or persona) do we wish to express to represent this blog? Perhaps we ought to consider that first, and decide how we'd like others to react to a first impression, based purely on name, and decide from there. One could also question whether that matters at all, but if we have any desire to invite outsiders, then perhaps it does. I mean, there are a few of us who possess some online personas where we can promote the hell out of this blog to at least get it noticed. We can also promote it to our own students--for those of us who teach--for any of them who are serious about getting into some philosophical discussions beyond the classes we teach. So the question that seems needing addressing first is about what sort of first impression presentation we desire to display to the public. Essentially, when it comes to designing to anything, the first thing to consider is the goal one has in mind.
For my own suggestion in that direction, I would push for a less humored and more serious sort of presentation, only because WMU has been gaining in noteworthiness amongst the professional philosophical community, and thus, perhaps we ought to take advantage of that and promote it further.
Here is an even further thought: if we can get this blog to have an overall feel and presentation of professionalness, then we can attempt to promote it amongst the more professional community, which could help get WMU's name get out there even more, and thus, help promote our program, which will of course help us all in the long run. I mean, imagine this scenario: someone is reading a particular book/article by someone, has some questions ideas about it, posts an entry, which doesn't necessarily require everyone to read it, just address some questions and issues, and perhaps the original poster eventually decides to send the author an email saying basically, "Hey, I was reading X by you, I had some questions about it, posted it in the unofficial blog of the graduate program I'm in, if you have some time to spare, I'd really love your input about the discussion that's going on there. Here's where you can find the post..." And so-and-so checks it out, sends an email back, and things start rolling for that grad student. How cool is that? And if s/he never hears back from him/her, meh, so what? You lose nothing except a bit of time writing an email.
And one last thing: I think everyone really needs to realize the amazing potential this blog can be as a resource for ideas and general feedback about papers you all need to write for any of your classes. And perhaps we all need to push this a little on the other students who have yet to jump on here. Seriously, from my experience--and remember, I am going on my 4th year year here at WMU, although I am not a student anymore, still--you can gain so much in the direction of writing papers by talking with other people about your ideas and such. Please take advantage of that! Philosophy is not a conversation with yourself, you don't have all the answers; philosophy makes progress because it is a continued conversation between several intelligent minds. Even if you think that other people don't have enough knowledge in whatever area you are writing about, we all have the basic philosophical tools to think about pretty much any philosophical issue. You might have to explain some things first, but once people have enough information, they can certainly offer up some worthwhile thoughts, questions, ideas, etc.
And hey, you have a great and interesting philosophical discussion with another student: share it! You certainly don't have to mention names, but it could be worthwhile to everyone for you to share it.
Something just confusing the hell out of you? Bothering you? Whatever? Post it, ask everyone, you might get some great worthwhile feedback.
Essentially, more people need to get onto this blog and contribute. We all spend a whole lot of time chatting with each other in the department, spending time with each other, etc., why not let such interactions carry over into here? What is the benefit? Having a typed out log of conversations that you can come back to as frequently as you like; with real life conversations, you have only your memory to rely on. Plus, if you are anything like myself, sometimes you find it much easier to express yourself clearly and thoroughly through the medium of writing, as opposed to speaking. Additionally, if you are posting an entry specifically about something you are thinking of writing a paper about, you can gain some practice here through having to already type out your ideas and such. Trust me, that really does help, the more you have to type it out, or say it, or whatever, the better prepared you will be to type it out in a final draft in the best possible way.
In the end, I'm trying to offer some of my advice to you all that is based on my experience of being here in this department for 3 years, so far--4 when I hopefully finally leave. It has been the best damn 3 years of my life thus far, I have learned way more than I ever expected, and if I can share that so that others can benefit, I'd like to. And I know from experience that having typed out conversations like this, in a blog format, can be extremely beneficial, so of course I'm pushing for that. So, anyway, I guess that's all for now. Cheers to you all.