Hey everyone! Dylan here. I'm writing this short post to share a new concept I've decided to pick up. At PageDAO, everyone has a project, but for me it's mostly been just DAO stuff. It hasn't worked out that well, so I'm going to be taking a page out of the community's book and focusing more on myself, but I'll always be part of the PageDAO community of builders in Web3.
It turns out that it isn't super easy to drive engagement to an underfunded DAO in the bear market, but maybe it will be a bit easier to take a step back and share a bit more of what's going on behind the scenes with a broader community. I'm a writer, first, and I've been in Web3 and writing about Web3 since about 2019. I briefly mined bitcoin in 2011, but gave it up and obviously didn't hit it big or stick with it back then. So I've been very committed to staying tenacious through the bear market we've been in, despite the massive difficulty there is in trying to get any sort of results these days.
What matters to me is that writers have the tools they need to succeed. We've absolutely moved some mountains at PageDAO, but we've been perpetually frustrated on the fundraising side. People want things to be simple, PageDAO understands that this market is a tough nut to crack and will not misrepresent the difficulty of the problem. Also, we're not the only ones building in this space anymore.
If I'm not the right leader (I think I am, but where is my proof?) to actually raise the money it takes to build the sorts of things my team can see these days, perhaps the best thing I can do is support other projects in the space and focus on my writing to show off all the cool new things that are now possible as a result of these dev teams who care about writers. Creative work is extremely unfair in many ways, and as one of the rare sort of people who comes with a strong creative side, it feels as if I've always had to fight a bit more just to get by than I would ideally have needed to. My passion is philosophy; that's where the cutting edge of human understanding lies and that's what I'm most interested in when it comes to problems to go work on.
I founded PageDAO in 2021 with Indefatigable and CD Vagobond and PhilofAustin and a whole bunch of other top notch humans. We raised a little money and built the DAO, but the world was not quite ready for it. The tools we built are still useful and the community has still been a lot of fun to be a part of, but being a DAO these past few years hasn't been easy.
Coming Changes: More Philosophy!
For me, what's changing is primarily that I'm going to be shifting focus away from building PageDAO tech (the pay is abysmal!) back to working on a very old project of mine. It's a philosophy book that comes from an idea that jumped out back in grad school somewhere between cognitive neuroscience and an extracurricular reading group that dealt with problems in ethics led by a professor I looked up to. The concept is Worldview Ethics, which is basically a minor formal revision to the way we think about ethical issues and individual people. I came up with it about a decade ago as a response to some of the issues I was seeing in the classroom. Ethics was too abstract, not tied in closely enough to the cognitive science or anthropological fields of study that seemed in my view to be very closely related to it. The main difference between Worldview Ethics and Normative Ethics is that Worldview Ethics attempts to maintain a much closer relationship to science.
Even back when I was working on my master's in applied philosophy and ethics ten years ago, there was this concept floating around that somehow we needed to find a way to make all of this more practical for people. We held reading groups and wrote essays about the issues we saw. Then, I went into teaching.
There was a component of the class that involved getting the students to do the reading, and it was easy to tell when they were interested in the subject because they paid more attention and were insistent about contributing to discussion. For this part, I found that choosing what to read made a big difference - but how we discussed the reading was also important. Going through the news and making comparisons to old obscure texts wasn't the right approach, but finding real-world examples of what the thinkers were discussing in the Gorgias seemed to drive Plato home by making him accessible to them, in one memorable case. Overall, the main thing that stood out to me was the importance of the way we approached the issues. It was possible to do it dryly and lose all engagement, or to get right to the core of the matter - which people liked.
When I wrote Formal Dialectics, my goal was to produce a readable primary source text for my immediate community. For its ambition, it is at the very least a fairly short read! The bibliography is extensive, but the text is generally successful in explaining its concepts concisely. I pulled it from Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2022 after they refused to indulge my desire to experiment with it on-chain.
Available as an NFTBook via PageDAO technology and my philosophy collection, Serious Philosophy, you can find Formal Dialectics on OpenSea here: https://opensea.io/assets/optimism/0xe7f967ed990c4db5262b592a3e5b70e29dd585c3/2.
Or, you can mint your own from my Bonfire page here: https://www.bonfire.xyz/epicdylan/home. I'm happy to say I'm also working on building out a collection of classic philosophy texts users can collect. The plan is to find them in the public domain and then, with nice introductions, add them to the roster so that people have some sense of where the really key background is for my philosophy.
Teaser: Panic essay art by Quest of Evolution team. Upcoming Worldview Ethics project.
Worldview Ethics is one piece of the puzzle here, as are my other books. It is possible that one result of this experimental period could be a process by which to integrate on-chain and off-chain publishing arrangements that others will be able to use, but mostly the goal is to show off the technology PageDAO has created and that others around the space have created by doing what I do best and writing accessible, thought-provoking content for people to read.
For one thing, I'm going to be working with the Quest of Evolution team to put out a series of essays that the community can then add to, enabling a conversation to come together around Worldview Ethics starting very soon. Should the world care to participate, there are a number of games that can be played both right away and down the line. If you purchase the NFT, you get to write the next section of the essay. If you do so, you receive some $QEV tokens and a seat in the royalty pool (so you receive part of the proceeds from the trading of the NFT). The Quest of Evolution team is great and I am very excited to see this experiment in the wild! Later, as more Sparks are created and more people get involved, the relationships between these ongoing conversations can be developed as well.
The current plan for Worldview Ethics is to release a total of twelve essays relating to the work via the Quest of Evolution platform. Users will be able to contribute, perhaps even in a rigorous way that could yield true value. After the first six are live, the next release will be the book, Worldview Ethics. We're working on finding a traditional publisher to work with on the print side and for ebooks, but it may be tricky because we certainly intend at least one NFTBook launch (Serious Philosophy) and maybe a second. So many things are possible here, and as a result one of the main goals I'll have will be to listen to the community as this process unfolds.
After the book is live and people can read it, the second set of six essays will begin to drop. These will refer directly to the book more, and will attempt to address the open questions that remain in the completed work. That way, in a few years, maybe some professor somewhere will be able to assign grad students to read the book and some subset of the responses to one of the essays to give them a sense of one aspect or another of the problem of consciousness. Our goal, as technologists building an app that consists of something like a book that's really a live application that runs on the internet and contains a social media component alongside everything we expect from print book media, is to find out what works and what doesn't as we go to refine the approach moving forward.
Knowledge Base Hypergraphing
If a conversation starts with Worldview Ethics, who's to say that other projects couldn't follow suit? Ultimately, the goal is to build out a concept I call the knowledge base hypergraph as we go. A hypergraph is a graph in which two points can be connected by multiple sides. If the project here works, it may make it far easier for individual people without advanced training to get access to the scientific process. There is a LONG ways yet to go, but I am absolutely thrilled to be here in Web3 experimenting with these open systems. There are many things I've wanted but not gotten over the course of the bear market, but something tells me this concept was worth sticking around for. We won't be doing a discord for this project, but anyone interested in connecting can come find me in the PageDAO Discord. We should see a live site shortly, and a week after that the first Worldview Ethics + Quest of Evolution NFT will be available on the market for purchase. It has been a wild ride in so many ways, but here we stand on the cusp of something really new.
Thank you for reading this update!
If you're interested in following along on this intellectual safari, please give me a follow on Warpcast or subscribe to this newsletter on Paragraph.xyz. Going forward, this will be the best way to stay up with the alpha on all your favorite T. Dylan Daniel philosophy projects.