Prometheus, the titan who brought the fire of the gods down to man, has long stood as a symbol of enlightenment. His fire has served to represent knowledge, reason, understanding and the spread of them as tools for improving life.
My vision is a website, invoking that symbol, which presents the means of understanding the world in simple plain English and for free. I want to take fundamental knowledge (with its potential to improve the world and the lives of those who learn it) out of the lengthy, complex, time consuming, often expensive or obscure formats it can be found in and make it easily available and understandable to practically anyone.
I have a vision of a well organized, integrated, and attractive source of information on methods of thinking, their foundation and their application. I will offer this, not as lists of facts to memorize, but as conclusions with the steps from observation needed to understand why they are facts. I will also show that they are not useless abstractions, but practical means to living and living well. It is my goal to offer philosophy as a useful science rather than a complicated and nonsensical game.
- Firstly, there will be a hierarchically structured presentation of the core principles of philosophy, with special focus on those which underlie or are expressed as methods of thinking. Eventually I intend to cover every major aspect of each branch of philosophy. This is what I am referring to as foundation.
- Secondly, there will be analyses of different topics (especially popular issues to grab attention) serving as illustrations of both the use of these methods and the real world implications of the core philosophical principles (but never anything as narrow as current events or movie reviews). This is, of course, the application.
- The third major idea behind this website is dynamic integration. Unlike a book or lecture course, a website is not limited to a strictly linear presentation. I intend to take advantage of this fact by allowing the user to reorganize the material to fit their interests via an interactive main page user interface, and by tying everything related together with links. If a user begins with something abstract (either within the foundation or application sections), this will allow them to follow a chain of links from there to the facts ultimately underlying, supporting and proving it. Often writing has to take a lot for granted, assuming the underlying and going ahead from there. This approach will allow the underlying to be readily available rather than assumed. This step by step logical connection will be the biggest and best presentation of method within this project, relying on and connecting all other such illustrations. Beyond that, I will provide sources of related material on a subject when possible to help viewers who wish to know more about a given topic.
Why focus on methods of thinking? To do anything well takes an understanding of what it involves and how they relate and interact. There are methods needed to understand anything which can be understood: valid conceptualization, induction and deduction (the skills which are meant by the term critical thinking). Some people can get by well without an explicit understanding of these methods, relying on common sense. Others can’t or don’t. Anyone can improve their abilities with a fully conscious understanding of method, rather than whatever good habits they happened to pick up subconsciously. Anyone can benefit from this information. These methods are the keys to a better life and a better world, the means of discovering how to reach any goal which can be reached and to avoid errors.
I am confident that I can make philosophy attractive, not merely by removing the obstacles to it, but also by showing how it is practical. If viewers can see how philosophy can improve their own lives and the world they live in, it will become more interesting to them. If philosophy is seen as boring it is because it is not seen as relevant. This perception is a major error, but a correctable error. Everything rests on and reduces to philosophy, nothing could be more relevant. I intend to show this.
I have the knowledge of the subjects, the skill with web design, the focus and the motivation to make this project a reality. What I don’t have is enough free time. All I need to work on this is time. Getting by economically, for me, means working full time. I have a job I really enjoy, but it’s not exactly the highest paying. What I’m asking for is enough money to get by on while building the site and its initial content. Donations to this project will give me the ability to work less hours at my day job, enabling me to write about these subjects and to work on the code for such a website.
Ultimately, I would like expanding this project to be my only job, producing content regularly not unlike a magazine. But I’m not looking for a continuous source of donations just yet (I won’t ever charge any kind of subscription fee). For now my focus is on building enough to launch the project and make it public.
If I get more donations than I initially need they will be used to further this project by:
- Helping me to relocate into less distracting living (and writing) conditions so that I can produce more efficiently.
- Providing me with better tools for writing, namely a faster computer than the old one I use now.
- Advertising the website to increase its visibility.
If you are passionate about education, bettering the world, teaching how to think over what to think or just helping people be more efficacious at living, please consider contributing to my project. I’d like to illuminate the world with the light of reason. I would greatly appreciate any help you are willing to give me in creating this project and contributing to that goal.