The original Hawks and Handsaws

In my very first entry to this blog, when discussing what led me to start Hawks and Handsaws, I mentioned that I had made a previous attempt at blogging once upon a time.

Some years ago, I actually did start a blog under an anonymous identity, and wrote a total of three posts for an entirely empty room before losing interest. After that, I pretty much gave up on the idea.
Since apparently I've declared summer of 2018 to be Blast From The Past Summer, displaying a good bit of my philosophy-related university writing on here for us all to look back on, I figure why not explain a little more about that first attempt at blogging and put up some of what I wrote there as well. After all, there are a few people out there reading what I write now, which is a few more readers than I had back during my first attempt. Read more...

My brief career as a philosophical squib

(or, How the way I talk about the free will problem hasn't much changed since 2007)

Time for another "blast from the past" post, the past once again referring to my days of writing essays in university. Back in my college days, I was very passionate about philosophy (in many respects, more so than today!), but I was also very lazy when it came to studying what actual philosophers through the ages had to say. I guess my attitude has always been inclined towards reinventing the wheel. Accordingly, I was the only heavily committed member of the undergraduate philosophy club (eventually I became its vice president) who wasn't a philosophy major or even a minor. I don't think I even tried to register for a philosophy course until my third year. But eventually, with some elective credits left to fill, I decided to sign up for a sort of easy Philosophy 101 course which was called something like "Intro to Philosophy". This was what was known as a BS course (and the acronym BS didn't stand for Bachelor of Science). Read more...

My evolving views of (American) politics

First, a "meta" note. I'm pleased that I got some substantial ideas down in writing here last year, however imperfectly, but I feel that I went very slightly astray of what I originally envisioned for this blog. Therefore, I've made a resolution to steer my writing in a direction away from posts on mostly-impersonal abstract rationality concepts and towards posts on more concrete and personal issues. Read more...

Confronting unavoidable gadflies

In my earlier gadfly-related post, I tried to describe an idea that had been buzzing around in my head for some time (pun intended? I'm not sure) which helps to describe how I view certain types of disagreements and bad arguments. I think it turned out to be one of my better-written entries for this blog and by some measures seems to have been the most popular. And yet, when I look back on it, I feel like I was mostly pointing out something already obvious to everyone (despite my repeated hedging of "I don't mean only to point out the obvious here...") and didn't manage to really capture of the essence of the common role of "gadfly speculations" as I see it. Read more...