How I Got Here From Nowhere

One of the most compelling things in Plato’s dialogues, and what I imagine to be the core of his Academy is the practice (and the courage and generosity that facilitate the practice of) thinking aloud together. My attempts at reading the dialogues which you will see at the left side of your screen (presuming you are using a frames-capable browser) are also an experiment in extending our seminar in this direction. These are very provisional, engagements-in-progress, and self-archiving (but not self-justifying) contributions to and invitations for thinking aloud together. Or, giving the medium its do, these are examples of thinking pseudo-aloud, virtually together.

None of my observations, nor the „knowledge“ upon which these observations teeter, are divinely inspired. While the observations may be symptomatic of a mania , the knowledge is the gift of tekne. Internet tekne. This area of the Histories of Meaning Web site has a two-fold function. It records some of my readings of the dialogues we are reading in the seminar. But it also documents and annotates the Internet resources I have consulted and on which I heavily rely.

On a frames-capable brower, as I stated above, my readings of the dialogues will appear on the left side of the screen (in the frame whose url is askesis.html). On this, the right side of the screen (whose url is hermes.html) I list some of the steps I took in conducting my auto-inter-education. These steps are annotated and hyperlinked to the resources in question.

Like most things in cyberspace, you have a variety of options here, basically divided into two regions of exploration:

Navigation Routes

If you are interested primarily in the webibliographic aspects of this project, scrolling on this side of the screen (the one in which the words appear you are reading at this very second) will take you to these steps and this information. These steps are fairly general, but increase in specificity.


The same webibliographic information can be gleaned within the contexts of specific textual engagements by reading the material on the left-hand side of the screen. The materials are arranged according to readings of specific dialogues. Clicking on the names of the dialogue-readings (for example „Meno Reading One“ „Ion Reading Two“) will only change the left-hand side of the screen. The hyperlinks within each reading, however, will either open supplemental pages in a new separate window (thus not messing up this dual screen – you won’t get lost), or, if the link is to a resource that was important to the research leading to the observation or the understanding in development, clicking on the link will open that resource direct in the right-hand side of the frame (this side). When that happens, you don’t lose access to this basic form of the screen. Either hit your backspace button on your brower, or, put your cursor anywhere on this side of the screen (but not on a hyperlink) and, (on a Mac) hold you finger down on the mouse until a dialogue box opens. There you will find the option „back“. Click that and this page (or the immediately previous page if you’ve been cruising around) will be restored. On a pc, right click the mouse for a similar dialogue box and option.

Of the two routes, the latter is more holistic and has the advantage of pointing you to a resource while demonstrating its practicality at the same time. But the great things about options is their versatility (you can mix-and-match) and their adaptability to different contexts, different needs. Experiment. Also remember I have another annotated (yet somewhat crowded) list whose full url is

A Cybermental Education
[Please feel free to try this yourself at home.]

Preplatonic preliminaries

Before reading Plato I had to find out where to look to find out what to look for. I started by constructing and launching Web searches on Classics, Plato, and related topics. My modes of searching and choices of search engine weren’t entirely random, however. I outline my methods of searching in „Netcasting in Daily Life,“ a Chapter from my book, 1997 College Connections Web Resources. I have posted the chapter on my Web domain and you can access it at this url:

The more I explored search results the more I knew what I didn’t know and what I was looking for. Compiling and weeding out URLS resulted in very useful categorized hotlink lists, while adding to my classical education.