Interesting idea however I’m not sure how this is different than what is already out there. The challenge I see is not providing content but making that content matter to the people you’re teaching. As a philosophy and psychology major I went through the process of looking for future careers and the main tracks that were presented were either academia, law school, or bio-ethics. This is why philosophy isn’t a popular major, there aren’t enough people who learn for the sake of learning, and universities are too expensive to go to for leisure.
I applaud that this is an effort to make philosophy more accessible however I need to know, why make a book and an online course that link to each other? The demographic this is aimed at seems to already be well versed in blogs and online mediums and would probably not get as much out of a book as they would an online forum.
Philosophy almost needs to be taught in groups to engage discussion and I don’t know how this is possible through the proposed medium.
Can you answer some of these questions before I consider backing the project?
Thank you for your comments and feedback, I think you bring up some good points.
I think you’re definitely correct about the reasons philosophy isn’t a popular major. In addition to that, most philosophy books would be very difficult for someone to pick up and understand and enjoy without having had any philosophy training. On the opposite end, you have the pop culture and philosophy series of books, a few of which I’ve contributed to myself. While there are exceptions, I’ve found that the majority of these just use the pop culture topic to introduce the facts of a particular philosophy or argument. Interesting, but not quite what I’m aiming at either. What I’ve worked hard to develop is a way to look at philosophy and how it can impact our day-to-day lives in a meaningful way.
As far as the forum goes – that makes a lot of sense because in brings in that sense of dialectic participation. My biggest frustration – and the biggest challenge, is having a sustained focus. I think it’s very difficult to read post after post after post, especially if you’re coming into a discussion that’s already ongoing. I have found myself struggling to maintain interest in similar discussions before. The book provides the opportunity to keep that sustained focus on the topic with one main voice throughout…
But the cool part for me is the interactive element, as I’m planning to get creative with these. There will be some more standard things like video interviews, etc., but I also plan to use them to link to things like forum discussions. Very often when I’m reading a book, something will strike me and I will want to go and discuss that – I hope to use that interactive element to launch into that online discussion. One of the other features I’m developing is a sort of “choose your own adventure” video series as part of the book. YouTube allows for some really cool creative projects along those lines.
Essentially, I’m hoping to create a basic book that can draw people in and make them feel comfortable with thinking about philosophy for the first time – because a lot of people don’t want to start out doing this in a group. As they become more comfortable, they can take advantage of the interactive features and become part of the dialectic process of the larger community that arises from these interactions.