Category Archives: humanities

Hamann, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein on the Language of Philosophers

I’ve got a chapter on “Hamann, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein on the Language of Philosophers” in Hamann and the Tradition, which has just been published by Northwestern University Press. The book is based on a series of papers given at an international conference on Hamann in New York in March 2009. It is edited by Lisa […]

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On Machine Readable Reading Lists

A few years ago I used to work at several college and departmental libraries at the University of Cambridge. One of the tasks which library staff regularly had to undertake was to cross reference the latest copies of all relevant reading lists with their collections, to ensure that they had copies of all the books […]

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The Sea of Stories

Earlier this week the Guardian, Forbes and others covered the discovery of 500 fairy tales collected by 19th century folklorist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. I sent a note about this to Professor Jack Zipes, who promptly replied urging caution about the discovery and pointing to many other (in his view more interesting) 19th century collections […]

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The contingent cathedral: notes on Lewis White Beck’s Early German Philosophy

Lewis White Beck‘s 1969 Early German Philosophy is a long, rich and rambling chronicle of philosophical thinkers and philosophical ideas originating from what we now call Germany, roughly from the birth of St. Ambrose in 340 to the death of Kant in 1804.

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The Citation Conundrum

There is an unknown – but probably shockingly large – number of public domain texts on the web. Many of these could be of value to students and scholars. Lots of digital texts have page numbers which can be straightforwardly referenced in papers and publications. For example the journal article, the scanned monograph, born digital […]

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Let’s make OpenPhilosophy.org!

A little while ago I posted some ideas for a project called OpenPhilosophy.org, which would enable users to transcribe, translate, annotate and create collections of philosophical texts which have entered the public domain. I’m very excited to say that the project has secured some funding from JISC, who champion digital technology for use in higher […]

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TEXTUS: an open source platform for working with collections of texts and metadata

Since finally blogging about OpenPhilosophy.org last month I’ve been thinking about how one could make a generic open source platform that could be used to power it, and other things like it. Enter ‘TEXTUS’:

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Ideas for OpenPhilosophy.org

For several years I’ve been meaning to start OpenPhilosophy.org, which would be a collection of open resources related to philosophy for use in teaching and research. There would be a focus on the history of philosophy, particularly on primary texts that have entered the public domain, and on structured data about philosophical texts.

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Who read what? Mapping influence in intellectual history

In my research I often wonder about whom and what the people I’m reading read. Did Wittgenstein read Nietzsche? Did Nietzsche read Hegel? Did Hegel read Shakespeare? Did Shakespeare read Chaucer? Did Chaucer read Sophocles?

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How much will digital tools change the nature of scholarship?

Will new digital technologies radically transform the nature of research in the arts and humanities? Generally I think I might be relatively old fashioned about this. Of course new technologies may change our modus operandi, and may alter the kinds of research we do. For example the (arguably disproportionate) dominance of the monograph and the […]

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