<p style="text-align:center;"><img src="https://publish-01.obsidian.md/access/fc925198dd36d01f77abca38452235a0/Garden/Images/Refined-Robot.png" style="max-width:300px;border:none!important;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;"></p>
Hi, I'm Mike.
These are my **notes** ✏️
Find me on Twitter: [@refinedrobot](https://twitter.com/refinedrobot)
This start page isn't an index; it just has some starting points for this site as a whole.
**Here are some topics I'm interested in:**
I'm interested in how classical [[rhetoric]] can be used to help students with their [[writing]].
I didn't discover rhetoric until my Master's degree, when I attended a random writing workshop for OGS and SSHRC scholarship applications. It was revelatory, and seemed much, *much* more useful than the things I'd learned in high school. I now tend to teach a lot of rhetoric in my classes because it's what I wish someone had taught me.
##### Some writing- or rhetoric-related topics to start:
- [[Engfish]] is bad and I hate it
- I think a lot about 🏗 [[rhetorical structure]]. Some starting points:
- [[your audience encounters your text linearly]]
- [[the rhetorical stasis questions help with structure]]
- [[if you have a very bold claim, you should address the refutatio early on]]
- [[subtle signals and metalanguage]] are cool and good
- an [[''I'' anecdote]] is a fun way to begin an [[exordium]]; sometimes it takes the form of an [[I was once like you...]] anecdote.
Some bits of research I'm interested in:
- I'm obsessed with [[metonymy]]
- Metonymy is [[metonymy is really hard to define|surprisingly difficult to define]];
- Related to the problems of defining it, it's really hard to distinguish metonymy [[metonymy is really hard to differentiate from synecdoche|from synecdoche]]. I think one way into this problem is thinking of metonymy as [[metonymy is — or might be — fundamentally indexical|fundamentally indexical]] (in the Peircean sense);
- Metonymy [[metonymy relies on pre-existing chains of knowledge|relies on pre-existing knowledge]];
- One or more metonymic shifts are often [[metaphors often rely on one or several metonymic shifts|what make metaphors work in the first place]];
- Some [[interesting examples of metonymy]].
- The [[Book of Nature]]
- Even [[even thoughts are signs|thoughts are signs]]
- I'm also interested in literature, [[style]] and meaning:
- [[Dickens's style blurs metaphor and metonymy]]
- [[Marx's style and dialectic emphasize the world of forms and appearances]]
- [[metaphor and decorum]]
- A very pretentious page about [[Percy Shelley and the dialectic]] (and the role of poetry).
- [["symbolism'' in The Secret Agent]]
- bad readings treat texts like [[bad readings treat texts like a symbolic formula to be worked out|a symbolic formula]] to be worked out; ***good*** readings, by contrast, understand that [[texts tell you what they mean]].
# FAQ 💬
## Why does this site exist?
This site is an example of a 🌱[digital garden](https://joelhooks.com/digital-garden).
It's kind of like note-taking, except that writing in public forces me to be slightly more rigorous or organized with my presentation, and this has advantages for my thinking and writing habits. ("The best way to learn something is to teach it..." etc.)
For example, when I first wrote this Start page, I was teaching communication courses remotely, and writing out explanations of concepts like [[ethos]], [[pathos]] and [[logos]] can be re-purposed for my teaching, almost as a pseudo-script or outline for a video or something like that. Theoretically, at some point in the future, it might be the kind of thing where I can just link students to specific pages here and there.
## What software are you using?
I'm using [Obsidian Publish](https://obsidian.md/) for the live version of this site. Obsidian is free for personal use and has a wonderful community on their forum and Discord.
My raw, less developed notes are in a mix of different places. I was using Roam Research for a time, but I'm now experimenting with Tana, Logseq, or just plain using another Obsidian vault.
## How come you link to a bunch of empty pages sometimes?
It's so that those pages can begin to acquire backlinks.
Even if a page or note doesn't have a dedicated explanation I've actually written out for it, it's still useful to see what other pages are linking to it.
(That said, I've turned on hover previews so that it's easy to tell if a page has any real content or not *before* you click over.)
Ideally, you also see a bit of the context in which those links occur. I've [put in a feature request](https://forum.obsidian.md/t/include-backlink-context-in-obsidian-publish/12632) for Obsidian Publish to do exactly this. (Their desktop app already does it.) In Roam Research, a page with no "content" might still produce a bunch of backlinks, with context, that ends up looking like this:
<p style="font-size:0.8em;text-align:center;font-style:italic;"> (From my page for "indexical signs" in Roam.)</p>
Roam does this well because you can edit those blocks of text right from the page itself. You don't have to interrupt your flow by navigating away from the page that you're on right then and there. Because Roam uses nested blocks, you can navigate up and down to see the parent or children blocks. (Obsidian uses markdown, so that kinda thing is way more difficult.)
The point is to allow seamless "branching off" as you take the notes (divergence); then, at some point in the future, you can come back and see what connections there are (convergence).
This image nicely visualizes this idea:
<p style="font-size:0.8em;text-align:center;font-style:italic;"> Found originally in either the Obsidian Discord or the Roam Slack</p>
I find this especially useful for difficult, hard-to-define and therefore hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around concepts from philosophy or literary theory. What is "[[dialectics]]," anyway? Well, here's a list of every time you noted an author using the term: now you can look for patterns in how they talk about the idea, and/or pick out the more useful quotes or examples.