Even as life presents itself as a continuous stream of experiences, we must perpetually wrestle with the problem of beginnings. Without beginning somewhere we cannot make sense of the experiences we’ve had, yet new experiences will often lead us to change our beginning point. The question of where to begin constitutes the problem Wittgenstein, Husserl, and others see in traditional metaphysics.
Even though its occurrence is culturally determined, we have all been given a new beginning with the arrival of 2017. Before us now lie many choices about how to think, behave, and interact with our world. While we are in part created by the past years, this does not necessitate that we are determined by them. So before we dive into a new semester, a new administration, and a new set of events to respond to, it is worth taking a moment to think about the role beginnings play in our lives. Here are some papers on that subject:
- Espen Dahl, “Beginning, ending and remembering,” Studia Theologica, March 2014.
- Kyla Ebels-Duggan, “The Beginning of Community: Politics in the Face of Disagreement,” The Philosophical Quarterly, October 2008.
- Siobhan Kattago, “Why the World Matters: Hannah Arendt’s Philosophy of New Beginnings,” The European Legacy, April 2013
- Joseph Yarbrough, “Philip the Chancellor on the Beginning of Time,” Vivarium, 2015.
- Edward Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method, Columbia University Press, 1985.
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