Michael Oakeshott referred to philosophical reflection as “an adventure.” He probably wasn’t thinking an adventure of the Henry Morton Stanley variety. Still, who hasn’t had a moment in their education when they were introduced to something new that seemed to open up a whole range of new, exciting possibilities? An adventure is as good a way as any to think about the process of learning, when it is going well; a journey in which the goals and destination are continuously revised in light of what is discovered along the way.
Our guide today will not be Oakeshott, but Hans-Georg Gadamer. Our goal will be to encourage both optimism and humility in what you can accomplish in your self-education these days, in light of the vast amounts of texts and other media that are always just a few clicks away.