Welcome to the new Middle Way Philosophy blog. The purpose of this blog is to help get people engaged with Middle Way Philosophy by commenting on recent public events and sharing some of my ongoing thinking. I have created a lot of materials about Middle Way Philosophy, both in the shape of five published books and in the Middle Way Philosophy website, but getting people engaged with this material is another matter. So far my approach has largely been just to hope that people will find the site either via Google or through the contact they’ve had with me elsewhere on the internet. But perhaps it is time to try a little harder.
I make a speciality of dealing with philosophical issues at the most general level, which I think about in a way that I think is applicable to a great many fields. As Kurt Lewin is supposed to have said “There is nothing so practical as a good theory”. It is only through reflective theory that we understand the assumptions we are making in practical life, and if we take for granted the assumptions in a particular area of life (say, science, or economics, or Protestantism), we never get to understand the way we are constrained by those assumptions. So I think it is the prime job of philosophers to think as broadly and synthetically as possible. But of course, once you have done this, it is hard for people to see why your conclusions are of interest and relevance for their particular spheres of concern. You have to remain clear about the theory at a very abstract level, at the same time as applying it and communicating it in a very specific way – and that’s really difficult.
Nevertheless, I’m planning to stick to the very general level of concern that I maintain. This is partly because I think that most educated people’s thinking in modern society is way too specialised, and I want to counteract that. I am particularly interested in religion, philosophy, politics, ethics, psychology, scientific method, history, education and the arts, which you might think is enough to be going on with. But I’m not promising not to also stick my nose into economics, more specific matters of science, statistics, linguistics, or anything else that I think can be tackled fruitfully from a Middle Way Philosophy perspective. Obviously it’s difficult to pronounce on all these areas without sometimes getting one’s facts wrong – so I’m happy to be corrected on that score – but it’s the readiness to examine underlying assumptions, and to try to trace broader patterns, that seems to me more important.
I do hope that there are some people out there who want to look at things in this broad way. My guess is that there are. I welcome you to join me, take issue with me, correct my doubtless limited grasp of specialised facts, and help me to apply critical thinking to the wealth of false dichotomies in the world around us. Just one basic thing I’d ask you to remember, is that most general claims I make will be based on work I have done elsewhere: so if you don’t think I’ve explained myself in enough detail, please look at my books and main Middle Way Philosophy website before complaining about it. When dealing with a big philosophy in which all the elements fit together in a jigsaw-pattern, you have to make some attempt to see the big picture before engaging in too much detail with the small picture.