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The Nature and Development of Understanding

An essay on Understanding (or, understanding for an Understanding of UNDERSTANDING)

Understanding—is of most importance to understand.


For the proper philosophical discussion about any particular thing, the identification of the thing itself is more important than the word used to refer to it: A word is merely a tool used to approximate the meaning of a concept, thus enabling an expedient means to refer to that concept in conversation or writing. In a way, this conventional approximation of conceptual meaning highlights the purpose of Philosophy, which I define here as the unmotivated, uncompromised expression of the innate need to Understand. And, Understanding is perhaps the most important concept to philosophise about—which I define here as the pure and thorough attempt to clarify the essence and significance of a thing.                    Thus for this essay, a cluster of related ‘things’ I consider worthy of discussion are most closely approximated by the word ‘understanding’, with each of these things representing a particular aspect of that concept, thereby being a different sense of its meaning. Hence, I will use the word ‘understanding’ in multiple senses, supported by my definition of each one; and by which I attempt to describe these particular aspects of Mind and Life.

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Pandemics in Perspective: Themes of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year

A thematic breakdown of the book A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe (1722)

Detail of the Penguin Classics Edition of Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)

Following my notes (presented in the previous post) on the book A Journal of the Plague Year, which were quite extensive; the following is a categorization of the most significant themes I have discerned from those notes, which are quite concise.

The main categories of the themes are Societal Dynamics, Conduct of Authorities, and Psychological Effects—the first two being the most substantial and thus each being divided into subheadings.

Having completed this list of themes, I find that Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year* clearly reveals its striking relevance to 21st century occurrence of plague; and its breadth of insight – within its accessible, narrative form – testifies to its likely being the best book one can start with towards gaining a perspective on pandemics.

Continue reading “Pandemics in Perspective: Themes of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year”