Socrates in the Labyrinth:

David Kolb Re-Thinks Argument and Philosophy

Nick Carbone
University of Massachusetts

One of my favorite short stories is John Barth's "Lost to the Fun House." In it the narrator, an omniscient type, interrupts his telling of the story by calling attention to the fictional techniques he employs, enumerating them throughout the story in bold text.

The story tells of a family's trip to a fair and of the protaganist's trip, with a girl he likes, into the fun house. As they enter, they take a wrong turn and get lost behind the facade of the funhouse, where they can see the machinations of it. Upon their exit from the funhouse, they emerge and get tokens with their names on them. That is, they go into a labyrinth, discover its workings and emerge with a new sense of self; the story proves to be, then, an ironic and quite funny commentary on literature, fiction, and the myth of Daedalus and his journey to the center of Minos's labyrinth.

David Kolb's Socrates in the Labyrinth: Hypertext, Argument, Philosophy , published in STORYSPACE hypertext software by Eastgate Systems, contains the same sense of fun and play as Barth's story, while at the same time offering a well-crafted insight into how hypertext can reshape and redirect argument and philosophy. And because the idea of hypertext is still nascent in the larger public consciousness, Kolb's work more than reveals its machinery--it studies that machinery (Eastgate's STORYSPACE) and offers both a rationale and example of how hypertext can reshape argument and philosophy.

To a consideration of labyrinths.

To a consideration of bazaars

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