Writing Descartes:
I Am, and I Can Think, Therefore ...

Starting Points
      Letter to René
      by Paul Grobstein

      Introduction

      Mind and Body: From René Descartes to William James

Dialogue Commentary      
      An Alphabetic Ordering
      by Author

      Other Forms of Exploration

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       Entire Forum Archive

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Introduction to Writing Descartes

"Getting it less wrong" is one of several themes running through Serendip. The phrase is intended to express an attitude of engaged skepticism, an interest in and willingness to listen to stories not because they are "right" (no story can ever be) but rather because they have the potential to help one's own story become "less wrong". Below is one of several essays on Serendip that explore this theme in different contexts.

Inherent in the "less wrong" theme is the idea that story sharing is and should be an ongoing social activity, one in which stories and reactions to stories valuably feed new reactions and new stories. Hence this essay is accompanied by an initial set of "Dialogues", reactions to the story with reactions to the reactions by the original story teller. The dialogues are intended to illustrate one of the ways that stories impact on other people, and how those reactions in turn help to expand and modify the original story.

Dialogues are, of course, only a part of story evolution. Equally important interactions occur among individuals for whom the original story is grist for their own shared explorations, and within the minds/brains of individual readers/story tellers. These evolutions may, and frequently do, take forms quite different from essays and dialogues, and may involve things difficult to express in language at all. To try and capture some of this, the essay is accompanied as well by a set of "Other Forms of Exploration".

The bottom line of the "less wrong" idea is not only that a given story is not "right" but further that it is significant only insofar as it becomes a part of an expanding network of story sharings and alterations, from which all involved get things of value to themselves and for which all involved share responsibility. We are attempting here to both model and illustrate this process, in relation to a set of ideas for which the process is itself an expression. Please join in, in whatever way you feel comfortable (or can persuade yourself, by thinking if necessary, to become comfortable). There is an on-line forum where your thoughts will be made immediately available to others. "Thoughts in progress" can be as valuable to story evolution as more deliberative writing. If you'd like to contribute to either of the other two sections, please write us.




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