Prof. David Kolb

Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Bates College

David Kolb grew up mostly in the New York City suburbs, studied with the Jesuits in New York and Maryland, received his PhD in philosophy from Yale University, taught at Fordham University, the University of Chicago, Nanzan University in Japan, and has been at Bates College in Maine, as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the college.

Since 2002 he has devoted himself full-time to writing and lecturing.

Themes in my Writings

I've written essays and books; the sidebar on the left connects you to a listing by theme that includes all the books and those of the essays that are easily available on the web. Most of these are from the last ten years or so. I hope to make more of the current and earlier essays available over time. (For a full listing of published essays, see the Curriculum Vitae.)

Most of what I've written connects in one way or another to questions about what it means to live with historical connections and traditions at a time when we can no longer be totally defined by that history. I've explored this through German philosophers (Hegel, Heidegger) who are themselves concerned with this issue, through architecture and urbanism, where these issues take concrete form, and through experiments in new styles of writing and scholarship. In these different areas one keeps seeing new kinds of looser, linked, and less centered unities emerging in cities, in architecture, in lives, and in texts and ways of writing.

By the way, I am not the author of those excellent works on learning styles and experiential learning that were written by another David Kolb at Case Western Reserve University.

"Places", Urbanism, Suburbia, Architecture

Architecture and urbanism are important on their own, as we try to make a more livable world and discover ways to keep up with our own changes. They are also practical studies in new modes of unity and community.

For a full listing of published essays, see the Curriculum Vitae

Hypertext and Digital Scholarship

When I heard about fiction writers using non-linear hypertext techniques to disrupt or multiply the narrative line, I wondered what the new kinds of writing might offer to philosophy, and how they would interact with the argumentative line. This led to a series of writings on hypertext and argument, and about non-linear ways of writing argumentative and expository prose. Then I began to wonder about how digital technology and the web were putting pressure on older practices in scholarship and structures in the university. Here are some of the results:

For a full listing of published essays, see the Curriculum Vitae

Modernity Postmodernity and German Philosophy

Most of the essays I've written in this area have dealt with Hegel and/or Heidegger, as well as some other figures from nineteenth and twentieth century German and French philosophy. I've been concerned with how these provocative thinkers should be interpreted and compared with each other, especially on issues relating modern freedoms and unfreedoms. Lately I've been writing more about Hegel trying to evaluate claims about the success of the dialectical process in his Logic, which I find fascinating and helpful. Many of the ideas about new kinds of unity that show up in the essays on hypertext and on contemporary places were suggested by my reading of Hegel. Most of the essays on German philosophers have been published in venues not accessible from the web; listings can be found in the Curriculum Vitae, which also includes references to my essays on other philosophers and topics.

Detailed information:


Publications in "Wolkenkuckucksheim
Cloud-Cuckoo-Land Vozdushnyi zamok":