I have placed an advertisement in the popular philosophy journal Philosophy Now. For fifteen years now I've been writing philosophy that has been read by two people, my wife and my brother; and I have decided to seek (or is the word 'solicit'?) a wider readership.
I feel an ambivalence doing so. The feelings for promoting the work range from thinking it could do some good, eliminate some confusions, to being just curious what criticisms it will receive. The feelings against have largely to do with a sense of the indignity of marketing my philosophy. These feelings are a little harder to explain. I think they have to do with wondering whether the word 'solicit' was the appropriate one for what I'm doing.
For me philosophy is a very serious business, with a deeply personal aspect to it. I discuss, in the first book, that a philosopher is a born outsider; and in such a position, the idea of marketing one's philosophy seems incongruous, and feels decidedly awkward.
And so, I'm feeling ambivalent. -- That sentence was a little hard to write, as this whole essay has been, mainly because it has sentences that begin with 'I feel', to which I can hear at least one voice reply, 'Who cares? I'm not interested in how you feel. This is not a psychotherapy session. If you have some interesting thoughts, let's have them. Otherwise, share your feelings with your wife, therapist, or barkeep, but spare us.' -- Harsh, but I see the point. However, I don't much agree with it; and in fact, the importance of feelings in philosophical deliberations is a theme that recurs throughout the half dozen books. Furthermore, and more importantly, ambivalence is an essential part of any worthwhile philosophizing.
Ambivalence is, or should be, the natural state for a philosopher. If there is a disagreement he should be able to see the merits of both sides. Only rarely should a philosopher be partisan; and his seeing both sides of a given issue, is already a sort of ambivalence. A philosopher is one who listens dispassionately to one side's arguments, perhaps agreeing with much of it, while replying 'And yet ....'
I will be trying to market my philosophical writings. I think and feel reasons not to. And for long these reasons have prevailed. Now the balance has tipped, mostly because, with the sixth, and most important, book being nearly finished, I can present the philosophy as a whole, which is the only way it can be properly understood. And I urge you to read and enjoy it. And I welcome your comments, and even criticisms. Now, if only I had some catchy jingle ....