Why Running and Philosophy?
I guess this post best explains my method of analysis here, what it means to connect running and philosophy.
Philosophy: I have a Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University. My primary interests philosophically are in philosophy of education, social and political philosophy, and ethics. The professional practice of philosophy is somewhat obsessed with categorizing philosophy into types, genres, and disciplines. But the philosophy I love and try to practice is less interested in intellectual turf wars and more interested with the lasting and ever-changing problems of human life. What's the good life? How can we identify and creatively solve social problems? What's the form and function of human intelligence? I guess I'm old fashioned because I see philosophy as a practice of wisdom.
Running: I've been running a long time. Along the way I've met some tremendous people, had some great experiences, gotten faster and slower. I've coached high school runners and individuals, and I've run competitively on teams in high school, college, and as an individual on the roads and trails.
I started this blog in part as a way of resisting an academic mode of philosophy that is aimed at just a few college professors. I wanted to challenge myself to make the ideas that I'd been encountering relevant to my own life and to be able to articulate them in ordinary language for ordinary people. All runners deal with philosophy, whether it be training philosophy, racing philosophy, or the more basic questions like how does running fit with my own philosophy? And what does the fact that I run say about my philosophy of living? We've all got answers to these questions, though they rarely are articulated and mostly stay at the level of intuition or vision.
If you are like me, one of the reasons you really like to run is that it gets ideas firing. Running and philosophy are a natural fit. One of the greatest things about being a runner is that the activity creates this sort of unique space of intellectual freedom. A mind moves when the body does. So, not only do we philosophize about running, running in a weird way produces philosophy.
I believe that people have a hunger for philosophy, but get turned off by its intellectualism, its snobbery, and its bookishness. I guess I see blogging as a possible antidote to those things (though I imagine I will fall into those traps at times!) My hope is that I can write something here that shakes loose a thought of your own, gives you something to chew on at work or on the next run.
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