Yo will have noticed that there is a philosophical slant to much of the content on this web site. I guess that is just a function of my nature and temperament. And part of that it is the desire for better answers than are usually available about familiar topics. There seems to be no middle way between the trivially obvious and the imcomprehensible textbook 500 pages long.
The articles in this section synthisise their topics in less than 10,000 words. They may appear to have little to do with the main topics that are covered (see introduction) but the associations will become apparent as you read through them.
I begin with the innocuous question ‘What is a garden?‘. As I point out in the article, the idea here is not to expect a neat and tidy formal definition but to work through the idea or concept and some of its major associations. It is a conceptual arena that I have occupied all my life and so I have enjoyed seeing where this thinking has led. Words seem so crisp, precise, and crystalline while concepts are like clouds that gradually fade away at their edges into their background or vaporise out of nowhere. Work on these articles (like all the others) is only partialy complete.
But gardens, specifically, are not just a part of my nature and temperament. Clearly they have an impact on you and many others or you wouldn’t be reading this article. What are the buttons of our human nature that are pressed by gardens? And related to this question there is the mesmerising thought that not only are our bodies built from chemicals that originated in supernovae that occurred billions of years ago (we are stardust) but we have also evolved as biological organisms alongside the plant world. That is, plants and humans have co-evolved. One major way in which this has aoccurred is by interacting with our senses. This patrticular evolutionary connection between humans and plant is explored in the article Plants make sense.
Examining the concept of a garden is a stark illustration of the way we are limited by the strengths and weaknesses of the tool we sue to communicate – our language. Though this is a commonplace we find that it becomes a recurrent theme in all we do. We need to understand as best we can this tool that we all share in the world. This topic seems to have only received its due attention in the 20th century with the development of studies in linguistics and the linguistic turn in philosophy. With this in mind I have written several articles on language: its history and structure; the history of the world’s most widely spoken language – English; and the language that is the foundation of the Romance languages of Western culture, and especially the study of botany – Latin; the lost study of rhetoric, the art of persuasion; and the changing nature of scientific terminology.