No Longer Anonymous

I was originally anonymous because everyone around me was. I thought it was simply what one did. Over time it became a habit that I had no interest in changing. I would occasionally read arguments against anonymous blogging or commenting but they didn’t seem to merit more than a shrug. Why assume a common motive, or any motive,  for Homer, Plato, guys who are role-playing as Warlocks, Mark Twain, people who write ransom notes, George Orwell,  most of the writers of Scripture, and a guy who doesn’t want his boss/colleagues/possible employers to know he holds some conservative/liberal opinion? There is also a verifiability problem- even though there are clearly times when I can tell that someone isn’t giving their full name, I can’t possibly see how I could tell when they are: if you say your name is Mary McTell, is it?

But I’m not anonymous anymore. If anyone is interested in my reasons, here they are:

1. ) All the serious philosophy bloggers give their names. That’s simply the way it is. I’ve been blogging more or less daily for five years (1776 posts in 59 months with several hundred deleted) so either I’m serious or I ought to be.

2.) I blog as a writing exercise. By writing daily in a semi-public forum I get an incentive to polish what I’m doing and cut out all the errors I’m prone to: over explaining, colloquialisms, over-qualification, non-unified paragraphs, sentimentality, overuse of semicolons and dashes, moving too quickly… Signing my name to the product gives that much more incentive.

3.) I also blog as a spiritual exercise. Nothing is quite as humbling as reading something I wrote several months earlier, since I invariably find myself thinking- “my goodness, I’m an idiot/ normal guy”. Signing my name to the product will make the exercise more effective.

4.) My wife Jessica (nee Oliver) wants to be able to mention me on Facebook.


  1. December 28, 2008 at 10:57 am

    My name shoed up on the old skin. Now it’s only in comments.

  2. Peter said,

    December 28, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Well, hello James!

    Your second reason brings me a smile. While reading your blog I have thought many times: Huh, he doesn’t over-explain and his paragraphs are very unified; nor does he overuse semicolons and dashes — as I do.

    Here’s to many great posts and many more.
    (And I like the new earthy skin.)

  3. Brandon said,

    December 28, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Hi, James! All good reasons for using your own name; especially the fourth.

    I really like the new skin, too.

  4. December 28, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Good on ya, James. 🙂

    We’ve got a little ‘Thomist’ now, by the way – ‘Thomas Isaiah Campbell’ born 7 weeks early, but doing well. 🙂


  5. December 28, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Cool! Writing “In a recent post A Thomist says…” sounds so stilted.


  6. Gagdad Bob said,

    December 29, 2008 at 8:14 am

    I think you’re being a little rough on dashes and colloquialisms.

  7. John Farrell said,

    January 1, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Nice to meet you at last, James! Happy New Year to you and your family.

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