Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices


Digital Dialogue

The Digital Dialogue is a podcast that explores the opportunities digital expression offers for transformative dialogue in the spirit in which Socrates practiced politics.

Location: State College, PA
Members: 17
Latest Activity: May 15, 2013

Discussion Forum

Excellences of Dialogue

Started by Christopher Long Jan 29, 2011. 0 Replies

What are the excellences or virtues of dialogue we need to cultivate in ourselves, our students, friends and family in order to maximize the possibility that words enable us to communicate in ways…Continue

Tags: Virtue, Dialogue, Plato

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Comment by Phillip McReynolds on May 15, 2013 at 1:13pm

I'd like to propose starting an affinity group that addresses the very idea of a "public". John Dewey addressed this idea as a fixed, pre-given concept in The Public and Its Problems, where he argued that publics are created, transient, and provisional. And, of course, the very idea of a public/private distinction has been challenged in various philosophical contexts. I suspect that the idea of friendship in philosophy (explored here by Richard Bernstein: clouds this distinction. What do you think?

Comment by Phillip McReynolds on April 25, 2013 at 1:50pm

Philosophy, to engage with the public, will have to overcome the public's conception of philosophy. Here are some philosopher's views on that:

Comment by Phillip McReynolds on April 1, 2013 at 4:16am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for responding. I realize that the idea of "dissemination" is rather 20th century and I'm very much interested in building a community around or in conjunction with the web series.  I should add, though, that this is not the case of my simply wanting to build an audience for "my voice" since, given the nature of the videos, there's a multiplicity of voices already there. My voice literally never appears in any of the videos and I construct them as dialogues (or, polylogues) mediated in film in which there is a definite point of view (which is mine, as author), but which is difficult to identify with any of the speakers as sometimes happens in philosophical dialogues.

I'm interested in but somewhat leery of social media. I deliberately withdrew from facebook because of privacy (and other) concerns and I have similar concerns about Google (despite their quasi-Hippocratic motto). 

I like what you say about pulling rather than pushing. I find that this happens to a small extent already with people finding the videos by whatever method on YouTube which occasionally leads to interesting comment threads.  (And, yes, I'm aware that YouTube is now Google.)

Thanks for your thoughts and for your comment about my website. I have a bunch of other questions (many of which are rather technical) about your vblog but obviously it is important to talk about the philosophical ones first.


Comment by Christopher Long on March 31, 2013 at 1:59pm

Phillip: I am happy to respond to this here, although there are probably other places too that would be appropriate. I think the YouTube strategy is a good one, particularly if you are linking them through your website (which looks nice, by the way.)

The issue of wider dissemination is a tough one, but part of the answer involves cultivating a community using social media. There is a pretty strong community on Twitter of philosophers who would be interested in your work. Also, increasingly Google+ is a place to build community around a specific issue. Of course, everyone is on FB, so you might start a FB page there and push information that way. Still, far the better strategy to pushing is pulling - by which I mean amplifying the work of others and inviting them to participate in your community rather than simply pushing content out to them.

Such are some of my thoughts.


Comment by Phillip McReynolds on March 30, 2013 at 8:36am

This might not be the right place for this, but I'm working on a series of films (web videos, really) based on a bunch of interviews I did with American philosophers and I guess I'm looking for advice on dissemination and also have some technical questions about hosting and so on. Currently I'm just sticking them up on YouTube and have links on my web site, but I'm thinking that there's probably a better way. Anyway, here's a link to my site if you want to check it out.

If there's a better place for me to ask this, please let me know. Also, is anyone else interested in philosophy and film/video?



Comment by Michael T Stowers on November 19, 2011 at 2:42pm

The terminology appears inchoate when speaking of "digital publics," "social media" and so on; has anyone else found this?


Ronald S, of course it must be remembered that the infrastructure on which these 'meta-networks' rely was designed with a highly elitist agenda but the protocols are pretty much all in the public domain and can be obtained on paper if necessary.  Also, were any "master switch" to be thrown it would be extremely costly for these who hold political and economic power, and it would be quite feasible to shift the meta-networks onto other infrastructures such as cellular networks etc.. Throwing the master switch might be easy but it would also be self-defeating due to the relative ease of bypassing, say, the US backbone.  As IP protocols were designed to auto-reroute, switching the US Internet off would be effectively indistinguishable from removing the US from the rest of the world (if it hasn't already done so).  


"How can a culture not emerge?" would seem to be a more salient question, or "how can such an emergent culture protect itself from those who would incorporate it into a consumer-focused one," perhaps?  The answer to your phrasing ought to be "through means such as this [the PPN]," surely?

Comment by Michael T Stowers on November 17, 2011 at 8:15pm

Vance, furthermore, has the time not come when it might be useful to distinguish 'persons,' 'people,' and other such terms for purposive agents, from phenotypically and genotypically specific terms such as 'human'? 

Comment by Vance A Ricks on October 10, 2011 at 3:25pm

The people who control the master switches are also people, and are themselves a specific public who can and should be addressed as part of any search for constructive answers to the question of how to make good "collective decisions".


In other words, I want strongly to resist putting "people" on one side and "the corporations" or "the powerful" or "the controllers" on another side -- especially because that picture also tends, simplistically and inaccurately I think, to ascribe agency only or mostly to those on the "bad" side.

Comment by Christopher Long on October 9, 2011 at 1:17am

Here is episode 51, with participants in the Advancing Public Philosophy conference in October, 2011.

Comment by Ronald Sundstrom on October 7, 2011 at 2:54pm

 William Deresiewicz's article "The End of Solitude" is relevant for our discussion of the role of philosophy in social media and digital publics.


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