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Nicholas Joll
Interests: Moral philosophy, phenomenology, Critical Theory, metaphilosophy, popular philosophy
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The interesting post to which I reply - by Mr Capraru - mentions not only *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* but also the business of popularizing philosophy. Hence, as the editor of a popular book on philosophy and *Hitchhiker's*, I feel entitled to comment. While Hitchhiker's does bang on about the meaning of life - or at least one could call it 'banging on' were it not so funny and so undidactic - it hardly 'wax[es] ecstatic' about it. Marvin, anyone? Still, I take Mr Capraru's actual point to be, not that *Hitchhiker's* is explicitly very affirmative about the meaning of life - although it is, implicitly, moderately affirmative about it - but (only) the following. It engages with the fairly accessible, or at least fairly-clearly-important-to-everyone, topic that is the meaning of life; and (the point may further be) it does so in an accessible manner. But why should such business be left to popular fiction of the kind Adams wrote? Why shouldn't philosophers - via texts that work via popular phenomena, or in other ways - do that? Yes, it can be done badly - but what's wrong with it in principle? But probably Mr Capraru means to claim only that philosophers are not (should not be) obliged to do that - and I think that I'd agree with that.
I too have received invitations from the 'Open Journal of Philosophy' - multiple times. (I'd thought it was because I've worked for the Open University.) A glance at the stuff it has published suggests that that stuff is very poor. Moreover, the journal ignored my querying e-mails. Inference: if it isn't an outright scam, it is close enough to one.
A useful article! (But) I'd like to consider/ask about that slightly oxymoronic genre, the popular philosophy book, One question about such books concerns royalties. I get 5% - on all formats, including electronic - for my *Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* book, and one philosopher has told me that that constitutes a rip off. What do others think? Another question is how such books look on one's C.V. I like to think that my being with Palgrave rather than either being with Open Court or being in the Blackwell 'Pop culture and philosophy' series helps me here (as does my subject matter). But perhaps it doesn't - and anyway I'd like to warn people off Palgrave. I can hardly tell you how utterly, utterly awful they have been to work with, although the finished book (well, the paperback; Palgrave incompetence means that as yet there is no electronic edition) does look good.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2012 on Editing a Book at The Philosophers' Cocoon
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