Tuesday, June 8, 2010


‘WRITING - THE PATH TO SELF-DISCOVERY’ will help you think through some of the most important issues of our day; it will help you to form your own opinions and use them to express yourself, in discussions and in your writing.

The ideas covered here are not new ones, but they are important ones, and deal with current issues. Each idea is discussed with a well-known person – a writer, philosopher, statesman, scientist or economist. Understanding the issues that are discussed in this book will help you to understand the world.

Having good reasons for your opinions will help you to avoid being prejudiced, and ensure that your opinions and ideas are considered ones.

As well as several links to sites dealing with the life and works of each writer, I have constructed simple conversations between other interested people and each writer. This should make their ideas easier to understand. Here, I am following in a long tradition of using dialogues to explain ideas; Plato (428-348BCE) used them in his works; in ‘The last days of Socrates’, Socrates and Crito discuss their obligation to obey the laws of the land in which they lived.

In such dialogues between Socrates and his friends, they usually reached an idea that contradicted another point of view, showing it to be logically faulty. The dialogues presented in this book do not necessarily always reach such a point, but instead, explore each idea until the reader is able to contribute to the discussions.

The dialogues present ways of discovering the implications of an idea or opinion. Again, it is important to realize that our opinions are important and can change the world we live in. Consequently, they must be carefully considered ones.

This form of question and answer - challenge and response, is ‘the external communicative representation of a process of learning, discovering, and thinking based on speculating, criticisizing, and reconstructing ideas’.

You can agree or disagree with any of the points of view expressed in each dialogue, and this should help you understand each writer’s position more completely, providing your point of view has been reached by logical and considered means.

The issues raised in each dialogue should be discussed with other people. You might often disagree with the points made, but you should have good reasons for disagreeing with them. Alternatively, you may agree with the points made, again, as long as you know why you think the point of view is preferable to others. You may, however, have a completely different idea of your own, with good reasoning to support it: writing can help with this. It is not my intention to tell you what to think, but rather, as Plato did, to provide you with something to think about and discuss, and write about.

Several quotations by each writer have been provided to make their opinions clearer. These quotations may provide alternative or additional subjects for discussion and should assist your understanding and appreciation of the ideas expressed in each.

All the quotations have been taken from the following website.

Links have been provided to sites presenting biographical data, as well as to actual texts, and looking at these websites is a way of preparing you for reading the dialogues in each section of this book. I think you should decide what is important to you, and then choose what to read, although I have provided pre-reading texts, and questions to answer whilst reading. Learning what is worth knowing is a valuable exercise and these dialogues will help you to discover that for yourself.

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