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Christopher P. Long
State College, PA
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor of Philosophy
Recent Activity
Agree, no rankings.
Nicely put, Eric. My sense is that much of the controversy associated with the question of live-tweeting and live-blogging in Philosophy is rooted in a deep discomfort among professional philosophers with being public. By "being public" I mean not simply appearing in public - an instance of which I consider giving a public lecture to be, but more importantly engaging in substantive philosophical dialogue with publics of various shapes and sizes. We are all learning the habits of public communication in a digital age, and with that learning comes, of course, opportunities to fail. If philosophers are uncomfortable with being public, we are even more uncomfortable with the public display of our own human fallibility. You have identified the stakes of that fallibility for our more junior colleagues well in your post. Relinquishing a "gotcha" approach to argumentation and scholarship would go some distance in mitigating the cost of PDF (Public Display of Fallibility). I am struck, however, that the whole controversy seems to be blind to a live-tweeting or -blogging culture that embraces the provisional nature of the ideas shared through social media. Those of us who use Twitter and other social media for academic engagement don't regularly mistake the live-tweeted or -blogged content of a conference participant for the fully worked out published idea of a speaker. Rather, when live-tweeting and -blogging is done well, it amplifies ideas, establishes connections, and enriches the ongoing work of those engaged with the online community. One of the reasons we are working on the Public Philosophy Journal ( ) is to help cultivate the habits of online public scholarship in philosophy by looking to the open web for conversations where issues of philosophical concern intersect with those of public concern. The project is made much more daunting, but also, I hope, more relevant and valuable by the fact that we professional philosophers are often uncomfortable sharing our work-in-progress in and with the public. I appreciate your post as an example of how that can be done well.
Thanks, Mark. I would love to talk more about it. Thanks for the post and your interest.
Mark, I am working on a project with Cambridge University Press that incorporates much of what you describe above. Here is a description of the project:
@MohanMatthen, your point about the transitive nature of "operates" in what I wrote is problematic if we think of the object of love, i.e., the divine, as a subject independent of nature itself. But when Aristotle articulates the divine in terms of eros in this passage, he gives voice to an understanding of operation, which I take to be related to energeia insofar as both point to being-at-work, that saturates the natural world. I don't think the Prime Mover, understood as eromenon can be taken as transcendental in the sense of standing outside of and separate from nature itself and the activity by which nature unfolds. That brings me then to @JohnProtevi and perhaps also @AdrielTrott, simply to affirm that I absolutely translate the erotic nature of the divine in Aristotle to animals and plants and even, I would say, the interactions between inanimate beings insofar all of these things enter into relations with other things. The very possibility of relation itself is predicated upon the erotic nature of the divine, aka, nature. That is why I wrote: "God is relationality" (ANT, 237). To say this is not to say that God is relational. Rather, I was trying to articulate the manner in which the divine erotic principle in Aristotle is the very activity that makes relation possible. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and openness of the conversation here. I do realize too that I am pushing Aristotle in directions he might not have wanted to go. That is the result of the legomenological method I pursue in the book in which I attempt to attend to the truth that comes to language in the ways Aristotle articulates his position. The truth that comes to language might be different from what Aristotle intended to say. This is, however, a method true to Aristotle's own approach, which sought always to discern what was said beautifully in the things said by those who came before.
Christopher P. Long is now following John Protevi
Aug 24, 2012
John, your tangential question is central to chapter 7 of my book, Aristotle on the Nature of Truth (ANT), so I could not help being drawn in here. Such is the erotic attraction of your comment, I suppose. First of all, you are right that when Aristotle uses the middle/passive participle erômenon to describe how the prime mover "moves other things by means of what is moved" (1072b3-4, see ANT, 216), he does inject a dimension of reciprocity into the nature of the divine. It comes to language in the term itself, even if Aristotle also insists that the prime mover is without potency. But we need not interpret this as "just a metaphor." If it is metaphorical, it is not "just" a metaphor in a derogatory sense. First of all, a metaphor is designed to carry us from one place to another, and this formulation does just that, though it carries us from a mechanistic understanding of motion to one rooted in desire. Even so, more importantly, to think the power of the divine in terms of erôs is to suggest, as I tried to say in the book, that the divine: ... operates in nature by drawing things toward one another in an ecology of relation animated by an economy of variegated desire discernible in a diversity of ways throughout nature. ... The beautiful and the good, accessible, yet elusive, function as erotic principles that draw us at once to them and toward one another. As elusive, they awaken in us a sense of lack that hold us open to new possibilities of relation; as accessible, however, they invite us to weave a sense for the good and the beautiful into our relationships with one another and the things we encounter (ANT, 223). The prime mover is erotic in the way the beautiful and the good are. As an erotic principle, it awakens us to our own limitations as it draws us to it by drawing us toward one another.
Part of this increase might stem from our efforts to model how a course blog can serve as the main writing platform and environment for the semester. When students are empowered to write for and respond to an audience of peers, there is an explosion of literacy.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2011 on Adoption? at Cole Camplese
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I too am trying to think less about where and how and more about what and why. What are we doing? Putting words to our experience. Why are we doing it? Because we are human beings: animals with a wonderful ability to use words to articulate a meaningful life with one another.
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You know, I am struck here by what has stayed basically the same: movie sales? I have to imagine that will change over the next 10 years with better in home theaters and the ability to stream anything anywhere in a house. Also, I am encouraged to see that the US power consumption has actually gone down a bit. Let's keep it moving in that direction. Finally, one thing that is clearly staying the same is that you will continue to be at Penn State, which I find very encouraging indeed!
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on Things have Changed at Cole Camplese
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You deserve a lot of credit for reaching out to your Dad in this regard. Although his response was likely very disappointing, it is vitally important for your own sense of self, for your own sense of freedom, to have had the opportunity to say the things you said to him ... and for him to have heard them. Your courage in pursuing that encounter, in saying true things to your father, is rewarded not so much by his response as by a hard earned conception of yourself as a person who is able to speak the truth directly to those you care about ... even if and perhaps especially when they disappoint you. Thanks for sharing this story.
I must admit, that was pretty amazing. Jimmy Fallon does not fail to impress.
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In a few weeks, my book on the nature of truth in Aristotle will come out with Cambridge University Press. Here is the description: This book reconsiders the traditional correspondence theory of truth, which takes truth to be a matter of correctly representing objects. Drawing Heideggerian phenomenology into dialogue with American pragmatic naturalism, Christopher P. Long undertakes a rigorous reading of Aristotle that articulates the meaning of truth as a cooperative activity between human beings and the natural world that is rooted in our endeavors to do justice to the nature of things. By following a path of Aristotle's thinking... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2010 at Mapping the Long Road
One of the most compelling things about using the blog in my classes is what happens when we as a class reflect upon the structure and design of the course. Those moments of meta-teaching and learning, when we reflect together upon what we are doing and how the design of the course impacts what is possible and not possible in the classroom are some of the most educationally transformative moments in the class. An example of the sort of feedback you can get from students when you ask them to think about the structure of a course can be read in the comments I received to a post associated with a presentation I gave at Utah Valley University last fall: So, I think the idea of pulling back the curtain on course design as a pedagogical practice is an excellent approach. I would be happy to participate.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2010 on Open Insight at Cole Camplese
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Oh, one other thing, I love the way Posterous uses email to allow you to post directly to your Posterous blog. Any chance for something like that for the blogs@psu platform?
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2010 on Do Dashboards Make Any Sense? at Cole Camplese
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Cole, this will be great. It will again transform the way we interact with our students and the ways students interact with one another. I think the more the dashboard can get out of the way of our ability to engage ideas online, the better. Of course, I would also like to see some of the other aspects of the TypePad platform on our Moveable Type install. For example, the following/followers feature. Keep up the good work!
Toggle Commented Aug 16, 2010 on Do Dashboards Make Any Sense? at Cole Camplese
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In the midst of a rather tense and difficult experience with openness on my course blog last fall, a wise colleague told me: "Sometimes closed is an iteration of openness." When you said that, Cole, something shifted in my attitude about openness, which had previously been in line with what you articulate above as "Open wins, period." I still advocate a very wide degree of openness for a variety of pedagogical reasons: to encourage my students to voice their arguments in public, to expose my philosophy courses to a wider audience, to engage people beyond my immediate classroom, to cultivate the capacity to respond to people with different perspectives, etc. However, given the limits of openness, including the possibility that destructive voices can threaten community and treat my students in unfair ways, I have come to recognize that having a closed, safer, place of dialogue is also vitally important. I have always used the CMS to communicate assessment comments and grades to my students. This is clearly an important issue of privacy that allows me in my public communications with them (through blog comments and posts, tweets, etc.) to engage the content of their ideas directly. However, like you, I realize that sometimes a private space of communication can be crucial. When we were deciding how to handle the belligerent commenter on our blog, it was imperative that I could easily open a safe, closed digital space of communication among only those students enrolled in the class. This allowed us to talk among ourselves and decide how best to respond to what was happening on our public blog. In that case and in many others, closed can be an iteration of openness.
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2010 on Locked Doors to Openness at Cole Camplese
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Cole, your comments are important here. They resonnate with those I posted here: Closing the Digital Research Circle. I really hope we can see an integrated solution soon for annotating ebooks and PDF files, sharing those annotations and keeping them with the files themselves and their bibliographic information.
Toggle Commented Apr 17, 2010 on Interacting with Texts at Cole Camplese
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Two points this video reinforce: 1) the iPad facilitates collaboration insofar as it allows for a shared media experience. You can watch video together, look at pictures and easily point to things on the iPad itself. It is easier to show people how to use than is the iPhone because the one learning can retain control of the device. 2) The device is easy to use. This aspect is certainly underestimated by the tech savvy, but it does suggest how the closed nature of the platform opens the device to more people.
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2010 on Virginia's new iPad at Cole Camplese
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Isn't there a way to integrate Dropbox into this in such a way that it would be simple? Where is the Dropbox iPad app? The way we have to use iTunes for Pages Docs on the iPad is Byzantine. Even if iDisk could be used it would be an improvement.
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2010 on What Year is it? at Cole Camplese
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So this comment is an example of how content is created with the iPad. You are right that there are some limits on what can be produced given the absence of a camera (both still and video). Text is primary here on the iPad, for now. For me, after a day of use, the iPad is clearly the preferred method of taking notes at meetings, tracking daily email and calendar events and reading blogs, etc. It is much more compelling for me as a personal assistant device that I can take with me through the day. It is easier to take notes at meetings without a screen coming between you and your colleagues. I also see this as a potentially powerful device in the education setting. If each student had one, many new modes of interaction would open to faculty willing and able to engage students with technology. Directing students to websites, having them do in class group research online, empowering the twitter back channel etc. are all very simple on this device. Finally, if I were on my iPhone, this comment would not have been as long - for better or worse!
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2010 on Only for Consumption? at Cole Camplese
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My real issue is this: will it integrate with Safari on the iPad in the way 1Password integrates with web browsers on the desktop? I want to be able to use the auto-fill button so I don't have to go out into a separate program. If you can do that, it would be excellent.
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2010 on 1Password and iPad: Part 1 at Switchers' Blog
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I concur about the need to have 1pw in the browser bar. I rely on that.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2010 on 1Password and iPad at Cole Camplese
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I am not sure what you mean by a "strict rubric," but I think you are right to reconsider how "participation" is assessed. I prefer a more qualitative approach that still uses a rubric, but does not involve counting tweets or comments or posts. My pedagogical goal here is to cultivate the habit of critically engaged writing throughout the semester. Students always want a number (of posts or comments or whatever) because they want to check that off the list of requirements. I have resisted this, giving only a number for an adequate grade but not for a good or excellent one. This implies that they are never really done writing reflectively about the material in the class. I want them to start thinking about everything that happens in the class - readings, discussions, other posts, etc. - as opportunities for reflection in writing. I think of this as habituating a blogging mentality, which is nothing other than internalizing the habits of what I have called the writing life:
Toggle Commented Jan 5, 2010 on Getting Disruptive at Cole Camplese
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Thanks, Cole, and Happy New Year. This will be an ongoing discussion as we encounter new technologies, so I appreciate your thoughts and judgment. Brad Koslek has helped by bringing the feeds from The Long Road, my Digital Vita and the Digital Dialogue blogs together into a single feed to the main Long Road page. The feed is this: If people subscribe to that, they will get most of what I publish online. Brad is going to add the feed from the posts I make on the LAUS Dean's Office blog to that main feed, so that is still the place to get much of my stuff. That feed publishes to Twitter but not to Facebook. Still, I am finding that the MT4 platform does not really offer the flexibility this TypePad blog gives me and I find myself wanting to publish here because of the social dimension of it. I hope the next iteration of MT incorporates some of the social elements found here.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2010 on Managing My Feeds at Mapping the Long Road