Where to Begin with a Blog?

Where to begin? G. W. F. Hegel, 19th century German Idealist philosopher, put a lot of emphasis on finding the right beginning for his books. He seems to assume that starting at the wrong point would botch the project. Partially this might have to do with Hegel’s method of not applying a method to an object of research (Sache), but rather to follow its internal conceptual development. This is the point where a number of difficult questions arise. What conceptual development is Hegel writing about? Does Hegel have a method or does he not? Nonetheless one thing should be clear: This is not an answer to the question of how to begin a blog.

Portrait of G. W. F. Hegel
G. W. F. Hegel

I always found the take on beginning by the classical American pragmatists like Peirce, Dewey and Mead, or my reading of them, preferable. Their suggestion is to begin wherever you are, with your daily practices and be open to adapt them to any problems and difficulties. The exact point of beginning does not matter as much as on Hegel’s picture, because if there is a problem with your starting point, it will result in a problem in reaction to which one can develop another hopefully less problematic position.

This can serve as a suggestion for starting a blog: Start your blog, write at the level you can write at, on whatever you have practice writing on, and develop in response to the experiences you make this way. I’ll give it a try.

Photo of John Dewey
John Dewey

P.S.: To leave not too bad an impression of Hegel, let me note that some of the ideas I have attributed to pragmatism here are similar to ideas Hegel presented first. For example, the rather full notion of “experience” to be found in pragmatism and of which I made use in my interpretation, is similar to Hegel’s notion of Erfahrung in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Most of the classical pragmatists like Peirce, Dewey, Mead, and James read Hegel or had even been Hegelians at the beginning of their philosophical careers and so it is likely that they took over some ideas from him.