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Everyone deals with ideas, whether they study Philosophy of Ideas or not. The question is whether they learn good methods, or pick stuff up from their culture and never think it through. I work on the problem of getting people interested in philosophy, but it's hard. People are busy, think they're already wise, think all philosophy is low quality, or aren't looking to be intellectuals. Paths Forward is one of my attempts to help.
Recently I've been working more with video. Many people dislike reading, and video lets you show information that's hard to capture in writing.
I made 23 free videos showing my writing process and 6 free presentation videos. Recording my writing was fun. It shows a raw, unedited look at philosophy writing (complete with pauses to read and think). That helps people who have misconceptions about how it works. For example, most viewers thought I go fast (I didn't always, but I've gradually sped up with experience). But one guy thought I was slow! He hadn't realized how much he was rushing his own reading and writing. That helped explain some mistakes he made and gave him insight into what to change.
I like screencasts so people can see more of what I'm doing by viewing my screen just as I see it. They can follow along as I scroll back to reread something, look something up on google, rewrite or delete something, etc. Whatever I do, they can see it. That helps avoid misunderstandings by showing details that are missing from general descriptions about writing and thinking.
I've also been working on edited videos. The best part about editing is making videos shorter. I'm less interested in doing a bunch of takes and edits to try to sound eloquent and charismatic, because I don't think that's useful to learning. I'm not trying to attract an audience that's impressed by something other than good ideas. (Besides, if you want really exact phrasing, then text is a better format.) But making shorter videos is great! And editing out mistakes is good too.
I just edited a video down to half length. And I barely cut anything out. Here's what I did:
- I sped up the entire video to 130% speed. Most people are wasting lots of their lives by watching and listening to things at only 100% speed. They could easily handle a bit faster.
- I sped up parts where I'm typing instead of talking to 350-500%.
- I sped up parts where I'm reading or thinking to 500-1000%.
- I sped up some little pauses in my speech to 350%.
- I sped up longer sections by larger amounts so there'd be a shorter wait before I talk again.
- I didn't want to edit sections out entirely. Just speeding them up lets you still see my entire process.
I know which parts to speed up by how much, and when to slow it back down. So it works better than speeding the video up yourself. You'll have to pause to read and think through everything. But pausing is easy and supported by every video player. I'd rather have a shorter video and let people pause sometimes than have everyone wait so some people can read more without pausing.
I've been working on talking more in videos. In the early videos I wrote like normal and made a few comments. I'm glad to have some videos in that style so people can experience it. But now I'm narrating more of what I do. I try to explain the background of discussions I comment on, walk people through how I read and interpret difficult passages, discuss writing decisions (like what to include or leave out), summarize my thinking on topics more often, and do my brainstorming out loud.
I've also been learning to use Screenflow, Final Cut Pro and Compressor. I got a mic and pop filter, and put a towel under my keyboard to quiet it down. I increased my mouse cursor size so it's easier to see in videos. It's fun learning to use new tools and optimize what I'm doing.
I've also enjoyed recording discussions with other philosophers. And I think they're helpful. People can see how to have a serious discussion that isn't bickering or talking past each other. They can get examples of how to ask questions and how to build on a point productively. And I think one of the best parts is seeing how to mix philosophy with regular life. These aren't just abstract discussions. We deal with practical issues from life and mix in philosophy concepts to address them better.
I've just released a new bundle of videos for sale: Behind The Scenes: Philosophy Writing. They cover a wide variety of topics (view what's included) and provide an edited view of my thinking and writing process. Choose the second tier to get a 3 hour Philosopher's Discussion too.
I'm also selling a new educational video: Reading Hard Passages – Examples from Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. There's a lot of good books which are hard to read. I put a lot of work into writing in a simple way. But you can learn from difficult material, too, if you know how to figure it out. I've read lots of hard books and want to help others with it.