Everyone knows the use of usefulness, but there are none who know the use of uselessness.”Zhuangzi 莊子
Welcome to WaywardPhilosophy.com, a small website run by me, Will Buckingham, and dedicated to various unruly and unsystematic more-or-less philosophical speculations.
You can find out more about this site below, or else get in touch using this site’s handy contact form.
About this site
Why ‘wayward philosophy’? According to my dictionary, ‘wayward’ means ‘capricious’, ‘following one’s own inclinations’, ‘untoward’ and ‘following no particular laws.’ Generally the word also suggests questionable morality, although I want to hold out for a more positive view of the possibilities of waywardness.
The word has its roots in Late Middle English, being a shorter version of ‘awayward’, or ‘turned away’. Poking around in the etymology, you get to the roots ‘way’ *wegh– or ‘to move’, and *wer– (3) ‘to turn, to wind or to bend’. So this blog is a place for various unsystematic windings and wanderings.
The topics I explore on this blog mirror my own interests, and they include, amongst other things, anthropology, philosophy, China, Buddhism, phenomenology, ethics and storytelling (I maintain that philosophy is a kind of storytelling).
This site is run by WordPress, and uses the excellent X theme. All written content is copyright © Will Buckingham.
I’m a philosopher and novelist. I’m currently based in Southeast Asia, but can also often be found elsewhere, from Bulgaria to China to the UK.
I studied fine art and anthropology before going on to take a PhD in philosophy. I wrote my thesis on Emmanuel Levinas. More recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time hanging out with Confucian and Daoist philosophers, and also plunging back into my earlier anthropological interests.
I fancy myself as a Daoist, hence the Zhuangzi quote at the top of the page and my concern with ways and windings. I particularly like the Daoist notion of “free and easy wandering” or xiaoyao you (逍遙遊). However, for all my Daoist pretensions, I suspect I’m really more of a Mencian Confucian at heart.
I also have been engaged in Buddhist practice of one kind or another for the last couple of decades, although these days I don’t really consider myself to be a Buddhist.
As well as writing, I love teaching. I co-run Wind&Bones, which runs workshops and projects at the intersection of writing and social justice in various parts of the world.
You can find out more about my other projects and my books on my personal website.