These are the writings of Christopher Murtagh (me), a musician with years of classical and jazz training and education in computer science who has made a career in technology – mostly with open source software.
Back in CEGEP, I took my first philosophy course while I was studying pure and applied sciences and immediately fell in love. I have since returned to university part time to pursue philosophy just for the love of it. The word ‘philoxopher’ is a portmanteau of philosophy and xopher, the latter being an pseudonym that I have used on Facebook, my blog (xopher.ca), and numerous other spaces on the internet. Many of my friends call me ‘X’, or ‘zofer’. While I’m moving away from ‘Xopher’ now, I still really like philoxopher, and I am using it for my twitter handle, and possibly for other new things on the internet where ‘Christopher’ is taken (which is pretty much everywhere).
This blog started off initially as a merge of two of my old blogs. One was under xopher.ca, the other was under christopher.murtagh.name (they both redirect to here now). At the time, I wanted to separate my work related writing from my more activist/social commentary writing. I’ve preserved all of the content from those two blogs here, (a reader could likely guess which post was from which blog) but I have since come to believe that separating the two was a mistake for a couple of reasons: 1) it was too much effort trying to keep two very different blogs filled with content, and 2) my SEO mojo and presence on the internet was cut in half.
There is another, more important reason why I think it was a mistake though, and my main motivation for shutting them down. I believe that when someone uses a pseudonym, it’s far too easy to depersonalize and disassociate with how that pseudonym behaves. I felt freer to say things as Xopher that I probably wouldn’t have said as myself. I don’t want to do that anymore, because I think it is unhealthy for me, and also socially damaging. From now on, anything that I say or do, I want to be sure it is something I’m behind 100%, without the feeling that I’m hiding behind some thin veil of anonymity. If I’m worried that something I might say might be too damaging to my reputation or some social relationships, then I should really consider if this is something I want to say at all.
I still have strong opinions about a lot of things. I believe in social justice, gender equity and equality, human rights for all regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and/or creed. I believe in open access to health care and education for all, and that education is probably our society’s greatest tool for social advancement and progress. I believe that standing up for the weakest in our society isn’t merely an admirable pursuit, but a duty that befalls upon everyone – especially those who are in positions of privilege and power. I’m also aware that I am one of those people who has great privilege, and that I have a responsibility to use it for good. So, I will be definitely expressing these opinions, but I will be mindful of how I do it so that they will be heard and understood by as many as possible.