Sources, Influences, Shout-Outs, and all that Good Stuff

As I write these essays for publication in my own blog, I find that it’s liberating not to have to cite my sources in the same formal, painstaking way I would have to if I were writing a student paper or a formal scholarly work. I know that every single thought I have (and this is true not only for myself, but every thinker out there) is almost entirely possible because of other thinkers that came before me, and those who share their thoughts every single day. In this way, it’s actually impossible to really cite all my sources and properly thank all who influence and inspire me, so developing and writing down my thoughts without the added effort of laboriously disentangling those sources which I can consciously identify and those which I can’t remember helps this whole process flow much more freely.

But I also feel a sense of great indebtedness to all those thinkers out there who make the world such a fascinating place. I get to learn and think because, collectively, the human race is so generous when it comes to sharing their thoughts, purposefully altruistic (think Thomas Jefferson: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me”or otherwise. This great pool of human consciousness, the sum of human thought up to now, in fact, is central to my own concept of transcendence, that ‘mystical’ state of reaching for and belonging to something larger and greater than myself (a topic for another essay that I’ve been plotting for some time). When I’m in the throes of figuring something out, I’m often conscious of the fact that that so many parts of the puzzle have already been worked out by others, and I’ve only gotten to where I’m at because of them. While I’ll continue to link to and quote sources as I write, I probably won’t be thorough about it in this informal setting, so this list serves as a catch-all to what I’ve missed.

So here’s my informal, unscholarly list of my sources and influences, of shout-outs to all of you wonderfully curious, intelligent, creative, witty, and thoughtful creatures out there without whom I couldn’t think much of anything at all, let along write about it. This will be an open-ended blog post, and I’ll add to it as I’m inspired, but it’s in no way exhaustive. It can’t be, because, like everyone, most of the things I ‘know’ I don’t know how I know, because I don’t remember who I learned it from.

In no particular order:

– All human beings who have contributed to the sum of human knowledge and creative thought
– My dad, John Cools, for patiently answering my endless questions throughout childhood and beyond
– My husband Bryan, my lover, best friend, and constant conversational partner
– John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (excerpts)
Randy Newman
– John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Subjection of Woman, and excerpts from Utilitarianism and other works
– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Two Treatises of Government (well, the second one) and excerpts from other works
– Ernestine Rose: feminist, atheist, socialist, Polish, Jew, human rights crusader, incredible in every way
– Montaigne, Essays
– My uncle, Timothy Harrod, for his willingness to regularly engage in honest, no-holds-barred, but respectful and friendly debate (he was my confirmation sponsor – you Catholics know what that is – and he’s been kindly trying to re-convert me and save my soul for years)
– My uncle Mark Cools, for similar reasons, while letting me stay at his house for free when I attended college
The philosophy department and other instructors at Sacramento State University, especially Gregory Mayes, Lynne Fox, Thomas Pyne, Bradley Dowden, Russell DiSilvestro, and Clifford Anderson
– David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, excerpts from various other works

– Daniel Dennett, Breaking the SpellIntuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, lectures, interviews, and essays
– Susan Jacoby: Freethinkers and The Age of American Unreason

– Eric Gerlach
– Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate, lectures and essays
– Michael Sandel, Justice and What Money Can’t Buy
Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton, fierce feminist and freethinker

– Clay Jenkinson, scholar and podcaster of the Thomas Jefferson Hour
– The various authors of the Bible
Shakespeare
– Leonard Cohen
– Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories
– Robert Ingersoll, 44 Lectures
M. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage and The Moon and Sixpence
– Carol Tavris, Mistakes Were Made But Not By Me, interviews and lectures
– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and countless other stories, essays, and quotes
– Neil DeGrasse Tyson, essays, interviews, and lectures
– Bertrand Russell, History of Philosophy and various other works
– Townes Van Zandt
– Gabriel Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 
– The wonderful student heathens at Sac State
– Cervantes, Don Quixote
Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great, debates, lectures, and interviews
– Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
Jennifer Michael Hecht, Doubt: A History, interviews 
– Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man (excerpts; one day I intend to read them all the way through)
– Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor’s Tale, interviews, lectures, and essays
– My friend Tracy Runyon, with whom I’ve had so many depthy and exciting discussions

One thought on “Sources, Influences, Shout-Outs, and all that Good Stuff

  1. Pingback: Happy Birthday, John Rawls! | Ordinary Philosophy

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