book?! A book?!
He writes a book?!
appearance of my
contents of my
I am trying to write a book - a Dutch book, since I am Dutch, and
because I do expect it is more likely to be published in Dutch, where
the need for such a book as I have in mind also is larger than in
England or the US. I explain myself in what follows.
A book?! A book?! He writes a book?!
Indeed, I decided that I might as well try to write a book -
and I mean one that is meant to be printed on paper. The aim is
to prepare a Dutch version of the Philosophical
Dictionary for being printed, in some form.
My reasons to want to do so are diverse. I will list some, to clarify
my end and my general point of view:
There are more reasons, but
some of the reasons why I think it worth doing, and why I think - with
provisos for my eyes - that I can do it.
- I want to do something I
humanly and socially useful, even though I am ill.
- I think my sites (two, that mirror each other) are
such, but what with my eyes being as bad as they have been for some 5
months now, I can't edit much there, and besides, this will disappear
if I die.
- The Philosophical
is, is a fair if
by no means a full explanation
of what I think about philosophy and related subjects, and is both
original and informed.
- The Philosophical
is, is quite readable for most intelligent people, and does not
posture or presuppose knowledge most educated intelligent persons can not
be fairly expected to have (as does e.g. the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,
that is good and extensive, but also for and by academic specialists in
philosophy, at least for a considerable part, in style, presentation
- What is needed,
Holland, is something like my Philosophical
namely to give
ordinary educated persons a clear, well-written presentation of
philosophy from a sensible point of view, that is, a scientific
realist one as regards knowledge, and a classical liberal
one as regards politics,
precisely because there are no systematic expositions of that
kind in Dutch.
- Besides, I want it to be
next to instructive, and to give food for thought rather than a
dogmatic sum-up, especially in and for times that seem to sink away in
and the construction of authoritarian states.
- I can do it and like to
apart from the present problems with my eyes, and indeed I have done
most of the necessary work in English, for and in my Philosophical
Besides, I would like to leave something useful, and I am also not
aversive to writing and publishing and making money that way - except
that since 1984, when I entered the Amsterdam dole, and found it infested and ruled by sadists,
liars, freaks, and human degenerates totally impossible to get to any
agreement about anything whatsoever - such as my rights not to be
grossly offended personally, not to have my parents be grossly offended
in public, and not to be threatened with murder and violence by
Amsterdam civil servants - let alone about the rational use of my
intellectual talents, for any sensible social or personal purpose, of
for writing books: That would only have given additional
reasons for discrimination, abuse, physical threats with murder, and
exercises of bureaucratic sadism.
Being 62 now, living in a time of crisis,
and having certain
documents, perhaps it is now, at long last, possible for me to use my
talents for something socially useful, that may even become personally
To be sure: I am aware both the remunerativeness and usefulness are speculative.
For example: I do not know of a publisher who would want to
take the risk, even if he (or she) would agree that a Dutch counterpart
of a perhaps restyled, renamed,
and also a
properly contextualized version of my Philosophical
Dictionary, would do some good in Holland if it
e.g. by increasing the standards and knowledge of rational thinking and
reasonable behavior some.
After all: I am not well known in Holland, even if I am
fairly well read, comparatively:
I never appeared on television or radio, and the chances such a
one as I will ever be able to freely talk in the Dutch media for more
than 15 seconds is small, for the Dutch media are quite properly
stonewalled for all opinions and from all people who are not approved
by Dutch governors of all kinds, except for those who do have some
parlementarian representation nevertheless. (The reason for this fact
is that the Dutch media are
mostly run, still, by the members of my own formerly "radical"
"leftist" generation of careerist betrayers of all ideals, all
civilization, all science, and all human excellence, who now, and
since decades, work for the Dutch government or cities, to take care of
PR and of the continued absence of virtually any voice of reason, that
doubts the excellencies or motives of the persons in power.)
Therefore I do not know whether any Dutch publisher would want to run
the risk to publish me on paper.
Then again, I know I can write, for I have been told so for close to 50
years now, and it also is a fact that my sites do get fairly
well read - thousands of hits every day, by probably between 1000 and
2000 visitors each day, who read my sites each day collectively for a
time of 3 to 10 days - and all in spite of having mostly difficult material,
about subjects that are not of interest to most persons (such as philosophy, programming, logic and ME/CFS), and in spite of being
very critical of much that is fashionable, popular, or normal in
And I do not yet know how I would present a book on paper, of which the
central part is like a dictionary of ideas and of my ideas - for it may
not be wise to present it as a mere dictionary, and indeed that is not
what I want it to be: I want it to be literature, readable in its own
right for fun and not merely for instruction or information, even if my
intention is serious, namely to increase the number of persons who
think sensibly, and have adequate ideas about the important things in
That indeed is the idea, my purpose, an end in view. It may turn out to
be a mere dream, an impracticable illusion - but I
really do not know of anyone else in Holland who would be
either willing or capable to do what I am willing and capable to do in
So I will try to do this, to the best of my abilities, much limited as
they presently are by ME/CFS and by
its common associate Sjoegren's Disease, that effects my eyes.
It remains to add a little on my Philosophical Dictionary.
2. On my Philosophical Dictionary
Currently, my Philosophical
MB on my hard disk; contains 1783 items, of which parts are images of
arrows and pictures of philosophers and illustrations of lemmas in the
PD, while it contains 627 terms. (The reason for many more items than
terms is that one of the html-editors makes duplicate administrative
files. These I leave be for the moment, in case I need to use the
Now I need to say some about two things relating to the PD, namely its
appearance and its contents.
A. The appearance of my Philosophical
As it presently stands on my site(s) it is - I say it as I see it - a
I have been working on it for some months in 2011 and 2012 with an
editor without a proper set-up for font sizes, and thus have destroyed
quite a few lemmas as regards the formatting of their font: Some text,
in many lemmas, appears in a small letter, that may be too small for
some, and some text appears - in the same lemma, often - in a large
letter, that tends to be too large for most.
This happened because I did not see it: The same font settings that
caused the problems caused that I did not see them (until several
months into 2012, when the harm had been done, and also uploaded).
This definitely needs undoing, and in fact I have found a way to do it,
piecewise, with such
eyes and editors as I
currently have, both of which could be a lot better, and would
be, if I had an effective say in it.
But then I have found a way to put things right, and indeed
have mostly reformatted the items under the letters A and B
in my Philosophical
Dictionary, say some 10% of the total that needs doing.
This is the first thing I need to make right - and which will probably
increase the usage of my PD, which was used rather a lot until the end
of 2011, when I unwittingly was destroying its appearance, as explained.
B. The contents of my Philosophical
As it presently stands on my site(s) it is, it still is almost wholly
my own creation, typed from the top of my head, through eight
This is indeed also as it started out in 2004, firstly, because that
was the only way I could do it, firstly, lacking the health for
excessive consultations of dictionaries and encyclopedias; secondly,
because that seemed a good way of doing it, at least if what I wanted
to give - as I did and do - predominantly my own ideas, albeit
avoiding giving false information; and thirdly, because I never got as
far as checking my PD extensively against an encyclopedia of
philosophy, which was the original idea: First write out what I think,
to the best of my knowledge and ability, and then check, verify,
correct and extend.
I do believe it worked out fairly well, and what I want to do first is
to make the PD look decent again, as explained under A,
What I will not do is extensively cross-check my PD with other
Philosophical Dictionaries that I am aware of that are on the internet.
I will briefly explain why.
The only ones in English that I conceivably could use - and indeed may
use, for some lemmas, eventually - are the Stanford Encyclopedia and
and Internet Encyclopedia,
both, Of Philosophy. I do not mind using these for
dates or book-references or the proper way to write a name, but I will
also not use their contents, mostly because these are not
written by me, and I tend to disagree with at least some of what I
read, while I also - often - do not like the styles of writing, and
anyway the articles often are too long for what I think is appropriate
for my PD, that does not want to bother the reader with lengthy
academic disquisitions (for the most part).
There possibly are some exceptions, and if I use material from those
exceptions I will explicitly say so, but by and large I have stated my
policy on these two encyclopedias of philosophy: I will not use
them, though indeed I have read rather a lot from the Stanford
- which I
recommend you use, if you want the currently accepted academic
point of view, and want it from an on line encyclopedia.
What I will not do is extensively cross-check my PD with whatever is in
Wikipedia on the same items, though here I am less strict, because (i)
the articles tend to be less academic and less for specialists only or
mostly, and (ii) the articles tend to be shorter.
But I have done little of such cross checking, and indeed have
explicitly listed as quoted what I have quoted. I may do more of such
cross checking, in part because of (ii), and indeed I may also decide
to give links to articles in my lemmas, to Wikipedia, and indeed to the
two internet encyclopedias I mentioned, and that mostly to help the
reader: I do not believe I have an exclusive insight in what is true
What I do intend to do some considerable cross checking with is the one
Encyclopedia of Philosophy I know best, and indeed read most of: The
Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Paul Edwards,
in 8 single or also 4 double volumes. This was published by MacMillan
Publishing Co. Inc., and by The Free Press, first in 1967, and I owe a
Reprint Edition 1972, that I bought around 1980.
This is the edition in 4 double volumes, that I have consulted and
browsed for over 30 years now, and indeed I have read most of
that Encyclopedia (few can honestly say so, I am sure!), and also
annotated a lot in it. It is mostly because of my annotations that I
want to cross check what is in my PD and in that EoP - but I did not do
this so far, possibly with one or two exceptions.
This is the EoP I like the best of all I have seen and read in.
The reasons for this is that it rhymes well with the readings I did in
modern philosophy and logic and philosophy of science (since most
contributors of it, at least in the main articles, I know something
about, and often read something else by); the EoP is well edited, and
written, for the most part, in decent US English; and finally I feel
most familiar with the sort of philosophical assumptions that went into
its making, which were more coordinated with philosophy of
science and mathematical logic, in many of its articles,
than these days seems to be deemed correct, and indeed were not
blighted by postmodernism in any way, shape or form, though it also did
contain some deplorable linguistic philosophy.
Taken together, I think The Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Paul
Edwards is the best encyclopedia of philosophy I have seen, and I would
much welcome it - though this is not likely to happen soon, in view of
copyrights - if it were to appear in an internet edition, indeed
especially because (1) this is not blighted by postmodernism in any way
and (2) it was written at a time and by specialists that were
considerably more propitious to what I regard as intellectually and
morally decent philosophy than are the postmodern times, or perhaps
rather: the post-postmodern pre-authoritarian times, in which I live as
I am writing this, where intellectual, academic, writing and thinking
standards have fallen far below a level that would have been considered
tolerable or decent in the 1960ies when the Edwards EoP was published
and written, for the most part.
To quote from the above linked article (or series of it) about Paul
Edwards from ca. 2005:
Therefore I will - if I can: I
promises! - cross check my Philosophical
which indeed is a Dictionary
rather than an Encyclopedia: a choice of brief items rather
than a survey of long items - with my copy of Edwards Ed.'s EoP, with
its many handwritten annotations by me, and indeed perhaps also with
the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, namely to check English
usage, though I should add that I know English well enough to be able
to give good definitions of most philosophical terms, which I also like
to do myself rather than go by the book, or some book, because
I do want to give my own special sense, meaning and stress to
terms used in and around philosophy, namely to clarify how I see things
and how I use words. Besides, anybody with internet does have access to
many dictionaries, so the basic agreed upon meanings of terms should
not be a problem to anyone, in principle, at least, and indeed if I
deviate, as I regularly do, I do so in detail or stress rather than by
using or suggesting a totally new meaning for an accepted term.
He was then described as
editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (8 volumes,
1967), “a massive Enlightenment work with a notable analytic
sensibility” which “focuses on such traditional philosophical issues as
God, free will, immortality, induction, and the nature of
The Right Honorable Lord
Trinity College, Oxford, has called the encyclopedia “superior in every
way to all its predecessors” and “there has been nothing since to
compare with it.”
The Encyclopedia of Philosophy is still in print,
although in an edition revised by other editors. When I visited Edwards
in his New York apartment three years ago, he was distressed that the
revisions had diluted the philosophical message and had been too gentle
on a lot of postmodernist thought.
So... that is the plan:
- To revise the formatting of my Philosophical Dictionary to a decent
one (as was)
- To review its contents, especially with reference to Edwards Ed.'s
EoP and the SOED
- To translate the result to Dutch, so as
- To see whether I can get a Dutch version, possibly in a literary
Currently, as of today, the entries for the letters A and B
of the Philosophical
reformatted to what they should look like, mostly.
P.S. My eye
necessary corrections have to be made later.