A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

About James Keye

Why do I write under a pseudonym? Do I not have the courage of my convictions?  These are valid questions: why should these ideas be given any attention if the writer will not name himself as a part of his support of them?  A partial answer can be seen forming from the absurdity inherent in the question.  A great weakness in the human intellectual process is the reliance on authority: ideas are given greater value when identified with a person who can claim intellectual heft; such claiming has become a sort of cottage industry.  Of course, honest authority can be a useful tool at certain stages of an investigation, if wisely used, but authority alone is a very blunt instrument in the pursuit of veridical understanding.

I realize that the first criterion for even beginning to be listened to is that one have some strength of experience, but it is perhaps even more important, these days, that a reader be willing to give a sufficient effort to understanding. I am presenting no evidence of authority for the reasons that I have none that should cause bad ideas to be considered good and from my desire that the ideas be forced to stand on their own merit, that the reader evaluate them against their own experience rather than against my putative expertise – and be willing to increase their experience as need be.

What I will say is that my formal education proceeded to the level of an M.S. degree, that I was offered a place in a Ph.D. program at a great Midwestern university; I was teaching there at the time.  But by that point I had decided to fling my young life, from the safe shores of academe, out onto the not-so-tender mercies of the fast flowing world.

What further reasons there may be for this mixed form of anonymity are personal, historical and even somewhat neurotic, a discomfort with being singled out and recognized.  For me, writing to a public seems to be a necessary part of my process of understanding; once done, I would just as soon remain in my cave from which I can watch the sunsets.

I apologize to those few others who have actually been called by the sounds ‘James Keye’ from their births; I met one once, but said nothing.  I intend them no harm by taking this name.  In my seeking for a pseudonym, this one struck a bell note in my head when I realized it, like the renaming of a Plains Indian for some event in her or his life.

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