Strategic thinking and its role in academic judgment and editorship

Knowledge lies in the answer, wisdom in the next question.

Dr Graham Little PhD AFNZIM © October 2003 Graham Little

Strategy is well known and understood as a tool and discipline in business, less well known and understood in social science and philosophy.

In this article I aim to settle any doubts as to the significance of strategic thinking in philosophy and social science, and to argue that it is the quality of the strategic thinking as much if not more than any other factor that determines the value and quality of papers in philosophy and social science. The particular thesis I propose is as follows: that absence of effective strategic thinking in any paper on philosophy and social science will negate that paper’s value, whereas the inclusion of strategic thinking will not guarantee quality of contribution.

In the paper I will explore and define by example ‘effective strategic thinking’, and propose some guidelines on what types and levels of strategic thinking is necessary before a paper is in fact accepted as ‘a valid contribution to a field of enquiry’. In the course of this discussion I will touch on issues critical to the future of philosophy and to social science, if these disciplines are to emerge as legitimate tools of understanding and debate on issues such as social development, religion, race, and spiritual development.

The strategic hypothesis

I have sought to sum the issue of strategy in philosophy and social science in the following hypothesis [1] . It is not possible to analyse a philosophical issue and achieve sound conclusions without relating the issue and the analysis to the broader strategic considerations of philosophy, within which the issue is only ever a detail.

The relationship of any detail to broader considerations is what I call ‘strategic thinking’. So in short, one cannot conduct philosophical enquiry that will be in any way meaningful unless that enquiry embraces adequate strategic thinking and review. To best understand this hypothesis and its implications requires a review of ‘strategy’, what it entails and what it means.

The notion of strategy has been fully and widely discussed in the business literature. For my own part, I have had twenty years of experience as a consultant assisting senior management teams to review and recreate and in some instances create strategy from scratch. In that time, and arising from that experience has emerged some understanding of and insight into business strategy.

First, and crucially, overall business strategy is an intellectual position for top managers whereby activities, tactics and plans today are grounded within the overall long-term direction sought by the firm. While much strategy is written, often in comprehensive documents, I find the true living force of strategy is not the document, rather the process of working through whereby the document was devised, and then the living system of thinking whereby the top team ‘see’ where they want to go and the steps to best get there. Important managers not involved in the processes of the strategy then must be ‘educated’ and bought ‘up to speed’ if they are to play any significant directional role in the firm.

I have come to see ‘strategy’ as a mind-map consisting of two crucial components. First, a framework of linkages between the critical aspects that include the market and its size, competitors, competitive advantage of industry and competitors, product features and manufacturing capabilities, distribution capabilities, market segments and market channels, market and social trends, customer expectations and profitability. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and any particular strategy will have some or all and often other factors, all interlinked. It is complex, which is why it is strategy. It is this mind-map that provides the landscape within which is then placed the firm, with the whole, that is map and the firm being dynamic and moving and evolving through time. Locating the firm within the conceptual landscape (the ‘ground’, as I often shorten it to) provided by the strategic analysis is the second component, with a likely third component being the movement and development of the firm’s position and the overall strategic circumstances of the firm through time.

In summary, within the business strategic model, there is the conceptual landscape, the map of the overall strategic circumstances with this changing and developing over time; then the location of the firm within this dynamic landscape. Actions today are then related and rooted in the understanding provided by the background thinking so giving multiple actions by many people over time integrity in relation to the conceptual landscape such that the desired position of the firm progressively emerges. Without the integration afforded by the strategic analysis the efforts of multiple people over time is likely to diffuse and inhibit any competitive advantages sought by the senior team, which merely reinforces the view that strategy brilliantly written and poorly disseminated will work less well than strategy adequately written but effectively disseminated.

How does business strategy relate and inspire strategic thinking in philosophy and social science?

In business the common goal is usually well understood, typically I describe it as ‘realization of the strategy of the firm’, and further, typically, the strategy of the firm involves some level of profit and of achieving some position within some time frame within the conceptual landscape, within which the firm must operate. There is a definite common purpose in the firm.

What is the common purpose of academe, and I use this term since issues of philosophy and social science are typically issues of academics? At this point I choose to make an assumption as follows. It is the intent and purpose of academe and the overall system of publishing and of journal editorship to seek and consolidate understanding leading to wisdom.

I defend this assumption on the grounds that if this is not what academe is seeking through its conferences, journals and press to publish, then how does it justify itself in relation to significant levels of public funds? Second, I can think of no higher aim for the overall system of activity we call ‘academe’, this aim is laudable, and one few would challenge, nor begrudge investment. Should there be offered any argument that this is not what academe is or should be seeking I would be most interested in what that argument might be, for I can see nor find any other comprehensive common purpose. Certainly, there is and always will be diffusing of this aim into self-serving ends, this in my view does not detract from the aim, merely highlights that academics, like the rest of us, are people with the foibles and idiosyncrasies, passions and tendencies parallel to the average person, and exhibited by human nature everywhere. Moderation of these inherently human tendencies within academe requires (as it does everywhere else), regulation, specifications on performance, rules relating to failure to perform, professional guidelines of conduct and personal moderation and acceptance of professional ethics as a way of life.

If it is broadly accepted that the common purpose of the academic system (I use the term in this context to cover the overall interlinked system including journals and journal publishers, the individual academic, the overall loose framework of those working in some particular domain of philosophy or science including social science, and those who fund such efforts) is to better understand, to make more clear, and to carry us all closer to wisdom based on this understanding, aiming for more effective action ultimately in the world at large; we can now begin to examine how and in what way this aim could be best realized. In summary, the question of the role and use of strategic thinking in academe and in the academic system now becomes the role of strategic thinking within the common aim and purpose of academe to advance wisdom.

The nature of knowledge and understanding

I have previously discussed the idea of understanding and knowledge and reproduce some of this discussion below [2] .

The discussion has been focused on identifying the precursors that must be for knowledge to be possible. And this approach has proved valuable and enabled a definition of knowledge not based on human psychology but based on the necessary state of a perceptual field for knowledge to be possible. It has also been shown that once created this totally empirically knowledge readily leads to categories and subcategories able to be combined to create imaginary objects. And further, a species able to come this far will quickly reach beyond classifications that are so easily based on perception and be bounded only by its imagination. All of this, without any reference to the problem of what it is ‘to know’. The discussion is drawn from the epistemological tradition of Popper, reaching beyond his analysis to seek the actual structure of knowledge based upon his argument that knowledge had existence independent of any individual. The psychological issues within this theory of knowledge come to the fore mostly in the questions: how do we understand? What is understanding? And how can we understand understanding?

Consider the example of a person seeking to understand a theorem in mathematics, what do they need? And how do they do it? Below is a partial analysis to explore the concept of understanding as applied to this example.

1.      Knowledge of how and where the theorem stands in mathematics.

2.      Knowledge of mathematical technique and logic.

3.      Knowledge of the importance of the theorem, its significance in relation to the rest of mathematics.

4.      Knowledge of the use of the theorem, and knowledge of where the theorem could or does lead.

5.      Knowledge of the language and an ability to read the theorem as written.

6.      Knowledge of previous attempts at this theorem and so knowledge of what has and has not worked in the past.

7.      Knowledge of the solutions to other mathematical problems, hence a knowledge of mathematical form and balance leading to knowledge of the right sort of ‘feel’ to the solution.

Understanding is rooted in knowledge, and the relationship some set of knowledge makes with all knowledge. It follows that we can have knowledge without understanding. This point will be considered in more detail in a following section.

The growth of knowledge without understanding

This theory proposes more, namely that with the volume of knowledge at the conceptual level of a photon, that is with the number of events classified at this level, it seems most likely that there exists a surplus of knowledge and a lack of understanding. In this instance, the problem is precisely determining the interrelations between the parts and to the rest of knowledge. It could also be speculated that the current interpretation based on probability and ultimate propensities will hinder a drive to creatively conceptually clarify, and to so identify the mechanisms.

The growth of knowledge without understanding is, precisely, the classification of events at the limit of knowledge without understanding of the conceptual level to which the events belong. The result is that there is a high likelihood that events at different conceptual levels are seen as at the same level, this confounding understanding (it is important to note that physical size or smallness in space-time is not necessarily indicators of conceptual level).

The example emphasizes that we can know something, such as a theorem in mathematics, but unless we can relate that theorem to the remainder of mathematics we do not understand it, and we definitely do not nor can we appreciate its significance in the overall system, that is, it is the relating of the detail to the whole that enables and provides us with the depth of insight and understanding. Being able to recite the Schrodinger wave equation, for example, would be knowledge, but unless we can relate its elements to other factors in modern physics, and unless we have knowledge of the components of the equation, then we can hardly be said to understand the equation.

This activity is strategic thinking, the relating of what we have now to the overall conceptual-landscape in order to gain insight into the priorities, relationships and elements that interact and could influence what we can and cannot know and do today, and in the same way, determine what we can and cannot say about certain things today in absence of full understanding of factors that could influence the items tomorrow.

The attribute of wisdom

Knowledge and understanding can be understood clearly and conceptually, but wisdom…? The approach adopted is to see wisdom as the balance between understanding and the temptation to arrogance. I have found the one sure way to achieve this balance is to always, always ask the next question.

Knowledge is something: it is the collection of ideas on a topic, ideas being the sets of events grouped according to their properties.

Understanding is something: it is the relational state of our knowledge; without relating what we know to the broader system of knowledge from which it came then we lack real understanding of the issue and factors surrounding it. We merely know of it.

Wisdom is not something, it is a way of being: wisdom is not what we know, nor what we understand, it lies in what we do with it. Our judgment is the core of our wisdom, and what we do in relation to our judgment then expresses our wisdom.

To have knowledge we must perceive the universe, and create the system of ideas from which knowledge then builds; to understand, we then need relate our knowledge to broader issues and factors building the overall framework offering both comprehensiveness and insight; to have wisdom we need to look beyond what we know and understand, seeking those factors that could influence today’s understanding tomorrow, enforcing restriction of today’s effort, balancing today’s excitement and enthusiasm with understanding of our vulnerability and our ignorance. Then to act, we must have the courage of our convictions, secured within our self-belief that in our judgment we have done our very best.

Some practical consequences

The issue now is: what does this mean? Are there any practical consequences? If so, what are they and how do they relate to the world of academe, its journals, writing, and social structures?

Before pursuing the issues, questions have already been asked, the Sokal affair, for example, is evidence of an author’s questioning the validity of established, even sanctified institutions such as ‘peer review’. Alan Sokal set out to test the hypothesis that if an article was written in the appropriate jargon, with suitable references, making points likely appealing to the editors, then the paper would be published even if it was nonsense. Whatever the view, the existence of such an effort raises serious questions not yet addressed within the ethics and social pressures of science.

The hypothesis set up and tested by Sokal can in fact be seen as a derivative of a more general proposition as follows: that the way people think shapes their actions, mood and judgment, and any idea not fitting prior understanding will be deflected, likely rejected. The consequence of this more general proposition is that any ideas not falling within the overall pre-existing sphere of thinking and understanding of editors will not be accepted, with the converse being the Sokal proposition. This idea is then added into an overall social and political structure wherein status and income are derived from the papers published and prestige so garnered. Further to the analysis is the question of any professional body judging itself. I suspect it unquestioned that under appropriate circumstances many of academic editors and authors would be most skeptical of some group of business people judging the rights and wrongs of another businessperson. Suspicions when police adjudicate on police, or lawyers on lawyers are frequent. Yet, an academic sits in judgment of the writing and thoughts of another, and no questions get raised, in fact the act of ‘peer review’ is applauded as something special. Now undoubtedly many will offer a host of counter argument, but for me, I do not see some enormous difference, merely perhaps degrees of variation, insufficient to result in full separation of these situations.

The argument deepens when the background to ‘publish or perish’ is considered. As an aside, in case any argue that publish or perish is extinct or does not exist, an acquaintance at Auckland University was declined tenure, and given notice because as was clearly stated and made evident, they had not published enough; this despite the fact that for several years the student body had rated them the best teacher in the department. Now anecdotes do not make a case, but I suspect the case could be made without much effort, and I decline to waste my time on things we know even if it is propitious for some to deny. Imagine for the moment we are an average, even below average university teacher, faced with the problem of ‘getting published’, and we slave over the terribly ordinary paper, and finally find a journal populated and read by the like-minded and equally untalented. Are we then likely to dismiss this journal and our own work as ‘ordinary, even backward’?  I do not see that happening. Pressure of publish or perish will lead inevitably to a proliferation of journals, all seeking and securing some population, and so consolidating revenues, and all saying that which those communities want to read, with those in the communities shuffling for status and recognition; everybody seeing their work, and the journals to which they relate as important, even urgent additions to knowledge and understanding, all enriching human achievement.

The practical consequence of this discussion then raises the question I wish to address: Given the questions raised by experiment (Sokal), and by analysis and theory (my own work, see can judgment be left so open, and so idiosyncratic to editorial pre-dispositions? The evidence clearly suggest ‘no’; that judgment requires, and the evidence suggest judgment demands, a much more systematic framework.

Criteria for judgment

Academic journals typically publish policy and principles to guide author’s submissions. They are all relatively similar, and focused on two key things. (1) The elements of style expected for any submission; (2) The broad topics considered in the journal. It is these that Sokal highlighted, emphasizing the role and power of ideological pre-dispositions in judgment. Note that the term ideological is not Political in sense, rather meaning the role of ideas in shaping how editors view submissions, but of course, within the context of the journal and its aficionados the term is definitely political. But should this be allowed?

The immediate question following: is this enough? What policy protects the quality of the thought? How is it to be determined if this article or that adds to the pool of human wisdom? If some article does not add to the pool of wisdom, and if as previously discussed that is the aim, then should the article be published?

Currently, judgment is left to the ‘peer review’ process, with no guidelines for debate, or for assessment of effectiveness of that judgment. If as I have suggested, journals build communities, with acceptance being little more than acceptance of each other within the community, then intellectual judgment the loser, at very least undermined and potentially debased by factors unrelated to intellectual pursuit and the aim of increasing wisdom.

I should state my own position, I certainly offered papers to journals in the early nineties, they were all deflected on grounds ‘did not fit policy’. Each took some months, being handed about various editors, the process giving cause for concern as to security of copyright of ideas. So I took the path of self-publishing. Now perhaps I am merely bitter at the rejection, but I am of an age where I believe I understand my own psyche reasonably well, and it is not bitterness I find. I am concerned at three things: (1) the amount of material published, most of it being of limited value, with much of it being of no value. (2) The persistence of an ethic that places second and undermines the importance of young minds and their development. (3) Securing a more consistent path for progressing wisdom, with the associated concern of making it possible for the general population to assess and judge what is of value and what not in science, social science in particular. I could add a fourth that of making more effective and more direct the public money spent on academics and the pursuit of knowledge. On full reflection, I find enough in these to produce some anger and aggression toward the waste and hypocrisy.

I will put my proposition now, and illustrate and develop it through the remainder of the paper.

That the type of strategic thinking I have highlighted is essential for any paper contributing to the growth of wisdom, and needs to be an essential component in any published work.

Being a visitor to this site you will know I have developed a general theory of psychology/psychiatry, general theories of cause and knowledge; supported by theories of perception, nature of ideas, and theory of events. In addition, I applied the system of thinking to the problem of building a theory of strategic human resource management. All this work remains speculative, despite the fact I have no doubt that I am on the right path, and a large amount of my work is correct, but I concede it could be wrong. However, some things cannot be wrong, for example, basing an analysis of perception on clear air white out and deducing the consequences: I cannot see how that can be wrong. Separating variables from their values and following through with the consequences: I cannot see how that can be wrong. Identifying Ashby’s ultimate and immediate effects as third level conceptualization tools, supported by my analysis of a variable: I cannot see how that can be wrong. The theories or some of them may be wrong in detailed construction, but the manner of their construction must be correct, it cannot be any other way.

Another key element in this mix is the role and nature of strategic thinking: it is not wrong, and cannot be wrong to relate details of some topic with the associated issues that could influence it now and in the future. Furthermore, it is only via such analysis and relating of detailed topic to the broader issues of the subject, and to any other issue in any other subject, that we come to ‘see’ what can, cannot and could and could not influence the topic under study. There can be no other process, no other source of thinking, and no other means of analysis. In short, in the absence of effective strategic thinking, any writing on the topic is simply rubbish, isolated nonsense of no value and not worth further consideration.

Examples of the types of strategic thinking required

A further personal aside relates to my manner of treatment of papers when researching topics. I found I instinctively dismissed some papers as worthless. On occasions, the papers so dismissed were then respected and clear expressions of commonly held and highly regarded views. I puzzled for many years on this characteristic of me, but had learned via business consulting to trust my instincts, even if I did not fully understand where they came from. I was prepared to back myself, and to lay down what I saw and thought.

It is only in the last year or two that I have come to some understanding as to why I could dismiss some papers immediately, yet be drawn to others as important, when the popular opinion often had it the other way. This analysis of strategic thinking is my analysis of my own instinct, and looking back I see how and why it arose. First, I did have an aim in view, I was seeking to solve the issues of cause, and psychology, and knowledge; second, I had already assimilated the work of Ashby, so was devoted and prejudiced by systems thinking, and variables as separate from values, and of ultimate and immediate effect structures; third from business I already had much experience with strategic thinking, the manner it orientated people to the details of the day, and structured the very nature and manner of their resolution. My first direct experience of strategic issues in philosophy being at the Australian Association of Philosophy Conference in Auckland, in December 2001 and it is only now I come to fully understand it, and able to offer it in a structured and concrete way.

The following is the quote of my initial direct experience of the impact and affect of strategic type thinking on how philosophers think and talk and on what they do.

In one paper on the general and particular, and whether generalities exist, the comment was made by the speaker that applying a wide range of examples would probably undermine all current theories, when pressed if he had attempted that stated ‘no, I just stay with the examples used all the time in the literature’. Another occasion, on the same topic, it was offered that a general theory of psychology would address many of the issues, ‘yes,’ it was agreed, ‘but some issues would remain’. But no attempt had been made to conceptually clarify which is properly psychology, and needs await a general theory of the same, and what issues would remain to be considered and assessed as philosophy. In yet another discussion on properties of things, again no effort to relate to perception and on to psychology, the rooms and high walls took on the aura of defense and security. Each offered careful, almost ritualized respect within their room, but let’s not bangs on any walls, nor seek to climb and say ‘but that should be in that room, and this wall much lower [3] ’.

The following are details of specific examples, I have not researched actual papers that illustrate the lack, it would be most easy to do, I see little or no point, what is needed is direct judgment of these issues and the courage to act on them. I highlight the issues likely to impact the topic, and by so doing emphasize the conceptual landscape in which the issue is embedded.

None of these lists of questions is exhaustive, they are merely intended to illustrate the manner in which the conceptual landscape (ground) of a topic is formed and its impact on the considerations relating to that topic. If in any paper, any of the questions is not addressed and answers in relation to the topic framed, then the paper must make the statement “… in the absence of understanding of … we speculate that…” for it not to do so is little more than fraud.

General and particular
Psychology and cause
Use of conceptual diagrams
Strategic human resource management in the firm

This topic is different, and less fundamental to the others, but the topic illustrates the point most dramatically.

To gain even the remotest insight into strategic human resource management, the ground as I call it, is not just significant, it is crucial, and there can be little or no understanding until pre-existing crucial issues of a most general nature are resolved so creating the ground, the conceptual landscape within which a valid theory of strategic human resource management is in fact possible.

Works that do not develop the priority factors needing resolved in the ground before a theory or serious comment on the topic is possible are at best premature, and at worst, no more than intellectual rubbish. Work that does not relate the ground to the topic and vice versa, establishing what is and is not possible, what is and is not resolved, what is and is not contentious is not worth consideration no matter how stylish, how popular or how well written.

The problem of the nature of science

If some person or persons holds, for example, a quite inadequate view and understanding of the law, they would hardly be expected to do well in legal discourse. Now, what if the common and typical perception of science was equally inadequate across a large cross section of social science and philosophy. Would it be expected that effective science would result?

I do not wish to pursue the point here, merely highlight that there is no real agreement on the nature of science, there is no theory of science rooted in a general theory of knowledge in turn rooted in a general theory of psychology. If these relations do not exist, then we have no valid theory of science. This statement is worth repeating.

If any theory of science is not rooted in a general theory of knowledge, in turn rooted in a general theory of psychology, then that theory of science is not valid, it is no more than naive speculation and guesswork.

The only theory of science that even seeks to achieve the above is the one at this site. I leave to you to judge the extent it succeeds.

The practical consequences follow immediately: in the absence of an effective theory of science, and in the more complex domains of science, those that respond less to the power and modeling of mathematics, there will be confusion and serious inconsistencies of effort and effectiveness.

Many papers stress an empirical effort and focus, this itself showing a serious shortfall in appreciation of and understanding of the very nature of science. There is significant naivety in the view that an empirical bent will somehow ensure the quality and substance of the thinking.

Style versus substance

It can be argued that to isolate and explore is the very nature of rational science. The problem is the vast distinction of holding things constant now, versus the likelihood of future learning. If factors are held constant in a test tube, then they can forever be so held constant and the same result emerge. For social science, assuming psychology to be constant, or to not affect perception and make statements on the very nature of perception is a vastly different activity. In the test tube the conceptual landscape is fixed, and is forever fixed. Should that conceptual landscape be so set at any time in the future then the same result will emerge. To study perception or knowledge in absence of a general theory of psychology is a fundamentally different nature of action. In one we set the conceptual landscape, identify and set the factors able to affect the result (temperature, solution, etc); in the other we ignore the conceptual landscape and often pretend it does not exist.

The crucial issue lies in the manner whereby intellectual quality is assured. Journals, as already discussed describe the style and the topics of interest to them. These items of policy, manner of writing and layout and suitable topics are both concerned with the issue of style, one of written style, the other of fashionable topics. Unfortunately these policy descriptions leave open questions of intellectual quality, of substance.

I argue and have illustrated above that intellectual substance, the quality of the article, lies in the dealing with and relating of topic to the ground in which the topic lies. That is substance lies in the relation of topic to the conceptual landscape.

Ethics and standards of editorship

Quality of style, both in writing form and of topic, is readily understood and assumed by editors in the peer review process. These are easy judgments, the paper either fits pre-dispositions and the manner and topics of the journal or it does not, and as shown by Sokal, it does not guarantee any form of intellectual rigor or quality. The unfortunate aspect of the Sokal affair is that it had to happen at all, that in fact the ‘system’ was not able to effectively adjudicate on itself and achieve levels of rigor and substance suitable. Alan Sokal blew the whistle; the failure to self-monitor showed academe as no different from any and every other aspect of human endeavor, with its own prejudices, egos, ambitions, and serious limitations requiring rules and regulations to ensure ongoing standards of ethics and quality of work, this especially so since the larger part of it is funded by public money.

A manner of increasing the substance (as I call it) of a work is to assess the extent the topic is rooted in its ground, and the effectiveness and level of insight with which it is so rooted. Any work not adequately grounded, is rejected. Such a rigorous demand would sharply reduce (and I suggest substantially reduce) the work published. This would create its own problems since I would expect some journals simply to disappear, with consequences for the community of academics collected about the journal, and for the publishers in relation to the revenues generated by the journal. Second, there would be serious consequences within academe, with far less work published, and the assessment process of academics/teachers having to be reviewed (‘publish or perish’ would not be applicable in a system demanding of serious intellectual quality if the work is to be published).

Further editorial considerations are the compromises likely implicated in assessment of any work. The emphasis under the priorities offered here is on the aim of enhancing the wisdom and understanding of humankind. Therefore a work short on style and long on substance is to helped into publication because of its contribution to the aim, and this judgment quite objective and transparent, since editors can point to insight and relations of topic to ground not already existing: The advance of wisdom lies in just such relations [4] .

There has been and undoubted remains interest and speculation as to the means and mechanisms progressing science: Is there a scientific method? Without addressing the question as a whole, the discussion has addressed a part. If academe was to adopt such a proposal as I have offered, to judge quite fiercely topics offered in relation to their ground, then I could see a form of progress whereby each generation made clear that which it understood, building on the insight into the topic/ground problems of earlier generations, the whole intellectual structure being moved forward with wisdom and understanding increasing at each advance. Scholarship would then be the act of recognizing the achievements of those that went before, and of ensuring understanding of the topic/ground situation, scholarship beyond this being no more than the act of an historian. Philosophy in particular would likely benefit from such a course, separating firmly philosophy as an act of adding to wisdom of humankind from that of cataloguing as historian that which others said [5] .

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[1] See paper on strategic thinking at this web site.

[2] See Paper 2: Perception and a General Theory of Knowledge at this web site.

[3] Paper Cause, time and particulars and other notes arising from the AAP conference, this web site.

[4] For my own part, I have always held such views, and these underlie my self-publishing efforts. My own judgment of my work, especially when re-read after some months or years, is style is often short, but substance is always long. Frequently I can find no other thinker offering the ideas in the way I do, or rooting the topics in their ground as I do. In this manner I defend my work, and my web site. I understand how the work takes some effort to penetrate, the thinking is different, so existing academics have to think and read with care to penetrate; for this I offer no excuse, any person thinking that issues of mind/body, cause, general theories of psychology and knowledge can be dealt with in two minute scan, which assumes what they are about to read fits with how they now think, and that this pre-existing common set of opinions and information which has thus far failed to achieve results will achieve results, and that this collective view is the only route to success and to the answers are no more than immature dreamers, for which I have little or no time or respect.

[5] There would need to be a sharp re-evaluation of historical philosophers, with the work of many failing badly against the intellectual standards applied, and while such figures may have historical and anecdotal value, they would be of no interest or significance to the philosopher working on the issues and topics of the day. This would also apply to whole sections of work for example much of what is accepted as modern literature on epistemology would fail the intellectual tests as outlined, as would much of what is accepted as literature in strategic human resource management, and psychology.