Introductory note from the editors
We had hoped to make this inaugural issue of S.Ph. Essays and Explorations available on the first day of spring. Unfortunately, the busy and often tedious affairs of academic life being what they are, one has little time to indulge in such luxuries as properly celebrating new beginnings in accord with natural cycles. All too often we professionals, as un-professional as some of us prefer to be, are forced to organize our lives by the artificial dates of academic and fiscal years. Hence, although our various reports to Deans, midterm grades, and staff or peer evaluations were all submitted on time, our journal languished unattended, if never actually out of mind.
But perhaps this delay is for the best after all. For April 1 is not too distant from the official onset of spring, and it is, moreover, April Fools’ Day here in the States. And since a strain of playful foolishness characterizes the sage, as Nietzsche was fond of suggesting, then it must be a mark of the lover of wisdom, the philosopher, too. None of this, you understand, is meant to suggest that knowledge is irrelevant to the life of the philosopher. To the contrary, the sage, to whose condition the philosopher aspires, is by tradition a poet and a legislator, a type whose characteristic activities draw on stores of artistry, experience, and erudition. With this in mind, then, we hereby welcome you to a journal that honors the creative spirit of philosophy without sacrificing serious scholarly knowledge. For our part, we intend to sacrifice only the anti-spirit of academic professionalism, or hyper-professionalism, if you prefer. Our readers will decide for themselves the degree to which we have succeeded in this.
It happens that in this issue are several essays concentrating on philosophy and literature. But this is not our mandate. An uninspired, and uninspiring, essay on literary aesthetics would be as out of place here as it would be in The Journal of Symbolic Logic. We welcome essays on every aspect of philosophy, though perhaps we favor work informed by the history of philosophy. But one can consider most every philosophical subject, from scientific method to moral theory, from the perspective of history. In short, then, and to adapt a famous phrase, nothing philosophical is inherently alien to us.
It also happens that in this issue are several essays on, or relating to, Plato and Nietzsche. From this bias, if it is a bias, we feel no need to distance ourselves. We are happy to publish as much good, original, creative work on Plato and Nietzsche as authors care to send us. We do not intend to be The Journal of Plato and Nietzsche Studies. But if there were such a journal, we would be among the first to subscribe to it!
The common theme uniting the essays in this volume is creative philosophy, or philosophical creativity. We include discussions of philosophers who think and write with artistry, as well as of artists who think and write philosophically. We include poetry and prose, fact and fiction. This, then, is our mandate. But this is just to say that our mandate is to publish works of philosophy, philosophy conceived not as a profession but as the love of wisdom.