Monday, February 26, 2007

What is a metablog?

The short answer is that it's a blog about blogging, but the long answer begins by saying that epistemology is not a many splendored thing. Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the nature of meaning itself. I can't really justify my interest in something so esoteric and insubstantial, but it's just something that's always interested me, and over the years I've developed what I think is a rather complete but unusual epistemological system. When the spirit moves me, I'll write about it here.

A short introduction involves what we do when we communicate. The problem is that we don't have any direct access to other people's minds, but we want to transmit messages. In my epistemological system, what we are doing when we communicate is a kind of remote model building activity. We are building mental models in the minds of other people, mostly by using our words to link to various similar mental models that the other person already has, but also by persuading that person to associate those component mental models in new ways, and hopefully to finish by building a mental model that is quite similar to a model that we already have in our minds (as the senders of various communicative messages).

As it relates to blogging itself, the chronological element looms especially large. The messages we write in our blogs represent snapshots of mental models we had on a particular date. Typically they are rather small snapshots, but there is a whole lot of linkage going on. My philosophic development has actually reached the point where I feel like there is imminent connectivity from any point to all other points... I could start with this blog entry and quickly link to anything else I know--but the collapse of the connectivity will be a topic for another time. This is enough for today's snapshot.