Kent Van Cleave A Work In Progress

The title "A Work In Progress" here applies both to this page and to its subject. This life, at least, must always be considered a work in progress. It is also one of many parts, for I am a generalist by temperament and ambition. I subscribe to the sentiment expressed by Robert A. Heinlein's ancient, wise, and curmudgeonly character, Lazarus Long:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I don't know about you, but I have a few of these yet to master -- plus a huge list of other more pressing things to learn! If you're familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI), you might recognize the symptoms of the classic NT (iNtuitive-Thinking) temperament.

I'll include only a bit of my recent history here, beginning with 7 1/2 years editing the Mensa Bulletin, the national magazine of American Mensa, Ltd. About the time I left that job, I got married, and entered grad school at Arizona State University (where I had earned my Bachelor of Music degree in Theory many years earlier) for a Master's in Philosophy. Why? Well, I realized I had been doing philosophy in many ways as an editor, and enjoying it immensely -- presiding over arguments in the letters column, admonishing writers to justify their opinions, lobbying for an organizational commitment to fostering the development of tools for the mind, and writing editorials on philosophical topics.

More importantly, though, I had begun charting some exciting territory in philosophy with an April 1988 editorial, "Survival of the Whichest?", which spawned a 1989 monograph, Evolutionary Foundations for Philosophy. My master's thesis continues the exploration -- partly by adding depth to the conceptual analysis, but primarily in showing how aspects of our evolved human nature undermine our attempts to investigate its mysteries. These papers and others (spanning such diverse subjects as philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, rationality, and even eugenics!) are now housed online at my Evolution and Philosophy page.

My primary interests in the field are philosophy of mind, philosophy of science (particularly naturalized epistemology), metaethics, philosophy of language, and political philosophy.

I'm now engaged in doctoral studies at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University in Bloomington, beginning work on my dissertation -- a radical theory about mental representation I call "proxy representation."

Thinking Member of the
Mensans of the World Circle
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