For those of you who haven’t already noticed, Deontologistics has undergone a bit of a redesign of late. It’s needed one for a while, for various reasons. But the thing that motivated me to finally do it was the realisation that this is the nexus of my philosophical work, rather than some sideshow. This site hardly has massive traffic by the standards of the internet, but there are posts here that are easily more read than any of my publications. Moreover, many of them are better for being written for a blog audience, using casual hyperlinks rather than fussy references, than they ever would have been if translated into a format that passed muster in some journal or other. So I’m not going to fight my natural inclination to write in this medium in favour of something more respectable any more. If Mark proved nothing else, he showed that such outlets can be more influential and productive than the fodder churned out to fill CVs.
Saying this differently, I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to have a traditional academic career. That ship has sailed. The metrics aren’t on my side, no matter how much influence my work has exerted within and outside the halls of academia. The question is what kind of hustle I can piece together from the bits and pieces of writing, teaching, speaking, and sundry philosophical tasks I’m intermittently capable of performing. I’m not sure what this will look like yet, but I’m eager to try new things. I’ve already guested on a few podcasts, and I’d like to try my hand at making some of my own audio and video content, though the first real experiments are a while off at the moment. In the meantime, I recommend checking out my interviews. I just completed one with CoinDesk on the topic of cryptocurrency.
The most unexpected turn in my philosophical practice in the last few months has been my return to Twitter. I’ve been posting thoughts there for a few years, and then transferring them over here as Thoughts From Elsewhere, along with the odd Facebook comment. But towards the end of last year I started writing a lot more, developing ideas in very long threads that are sometimes the size of full length essays. These turned out to be surprisingly popular, and just before New Year I ran a competition where my followers could vote for a topic for me to write a thread on. Predictably, they chose the topic I least wanted to write about: François Laruelle. The resulting thread is still unfinished, though it’s over 300 tweets long, and is slowly growing into something like a small book. I’ll get it finished over the next few months, even if it kills me. It’s been an interesting experience, and I might try it again once it’s done.
I now have quite a substantial hoard of writing ready to be ported from Twitter to here, where it can be edited, extended, and made available in ways more permanent than the endless river of the feed. However, my plan is to parcel it out over time, in a way that produces a more consistent and less sporadic stream of content for people to read. As I’ve discussed at length in the past, the bipolar cycle can make this sort of consistency hard, but I’m hoping that this way of writing will lead me to be more productive and generally less anxious about how uneven my productivity tends to be. There will still be regular posts, talks, and maybe a book announcement or two as well.
Wither the hustle then? I’m not entirely sure. I’ve had some people suggest that I move my writing to Substack, but I’ve always seen my writing as a public practice. I’m not against being commissioned to write pieces that are put behind a paywall (hint: if I’ve expressed a thought you’d like to see in full length article form, I’m available for hire), but I don’t really want to build a paywall of my own. After talking with a few people in similar positions, I’ve decided to start a Patreon. I’m not asking for a lot, as I’m still feeling it out. But if you like what I do and you’d like to encourage me to do more of it, do consider subscribing (one-off donations are also welcome). One thing I’m considering is producing audio recordings of some of my more accessible tweet threads for subscribers. I’ve already done a rough proof of concept using something I wrote about Transcendental Realism and Empirical Idealism several months back. I’m grateful for any and all feedback on this idea.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. Here’s to writing more.