Musing – what is it?

But what exactly is ‘musing’ and what is its point? Why do it? What is its meaning, its outcome, its point?

Musing is mulling over something that you cannot get clear on, that you cannot pigeon-hole or slot into a definite place. Musing is thinking. Musing is being drawn back to turning something over and over in your mind trying to bring together all the different angles and dimensions so that it settles into a coherent unity. Musing is being caught up in a mystery, conflicting or contradictory intuitions or thoughts. Musing is circling round and round, like the proverbial moth, trying to find a point of rest or resolution.

It is important at this point to make clear that musing cannot be resolved by knowledge. Musing is not a search for knowledge; it is a search for coherence, for insight, illumination, for a metaphor. Read more of this post

Analytic Philosophy as a dead-end

Rhetoric is not only concerned with the how of what we say, but also with the what. That is, it is just as concerned with how we work out what to say, how we find and follow ideas or thoughts as with how we shape them to create a convincing speech or text.

So, I will begin with some reflections on my own ways of finding what to say.

I was trained in philosophy, analytic philosophy, a discipline that was obsessed with logical reasoning. The idea was that you would begin with one thought or proposition and then realise that that logically led to another one, and then on to a further one, and so on until you reached the final concluding thought or proposition. Each link in the chain of thoughts was a logical necessity, a deductive relation. There could be no jumps or gaps between the thoughts. Those trained in philosophy will immediately associate this description with three things: the practice of reasoning formulated by Descartes; the flow of ideas in philosophy articles or books; and the aggressive search by reading or listening philosophers for any jumps or gaps or ‘holes’ in the necessary flow of propositions.

This game of finding the hole in an argument was an intellectual game I threw myself into with relish when young. Read more of this post