Are you a fox or a hedgehog?

There’s a wonderful section of one of the posts we just linked to about the dangers of academic blogging which discusses the way different intellectual personalities approach academic blogging. The post makes an important (and personally quite sobering given how clearly I’m not a hedgehog) point about how intellectual hedgehogs might perceive the online activity of blogging foxes.

There is a saying attributed to the Greek poet Archilochus that goes, “The Fox knows many things, but the Hedgehog knows one great thing.” The philosopher Isaiah Berlin was inspired by this pithy observation so he wrote an essay titled “The Hedgehog and the Fox” wherein he presented the idea that there are two types of thinkers: (1) those who understand the world around them through the lens ofone big idea and (2) those who understand the world by drawing from a variety of ideas. Since then, people have used this model to describe their own approach to the life of the mind.

Personally, I’m a Fox—not an attractive person, but one who wants to know a little bit about everything. While most of my reading time is spent with books related to biblical studies and/or Christian theology there is no denying that I am almost as interested in other topics like contemporary religions, international politics, various sorts of philosophy, ethics, neuroscience, and professional sports. That is why this blog has failed to be strictly a biblioblog. I am not apt to isolate and compartmentalize my thought life. I understand the big picture when I factor all the smaller pieces and I understand the smaller pieces in light of the big picture.


Categories: Digital Sociology, Higher Education

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