Essays on Orientation Skills in Everyday and Professional Life

Preface to the Essay Series

Orientation, considered as finding one’s ways successfully in new situations, isn’t simply a matter of theoretical knowledge. It’s also an achievement and a competence involving manifold orientation skills and orientation virtues that differ depending on the field of action we’re in. Such orientation skills, demanded especially from successful professionals such as entrepreneurs, businesspeople, politicians, lawyers, athletes, marketers, scientists, artists, or poker players, have hardly become an object of philosophical research. Through the lens of the philosophy of orientation, our essay series investigates these orientation skills that are vital for people to successfully find their ways in today’s complex and ever-changing world. …

Reinhard G. Mueller, September 2020

Decision-Making as an Orientation Skill: Annie Duke’s Thinking in Bets and the Philosophy of Orientation

When you’re playing poker, you must quickly gather a multitude of information on each move: the cards on the table, the cards in your hand and those you suspect in your opponents’ hands, the stakes on the table, the other players’ skills and game strategies, the different options you have, and the bets and risks you’re willing to take. You have to make your decisions under the pressure of time and without reaching any certainty. As such playing poker displays what you do when you orient yourself: …

Carlin Romano, March 2022

Orienting to Journalism: The Ever-Changing Now

All professions require the people who work in them to know a lot, and to continue to learn. In the United States, lawyers learn the basics of the law in law school, or as a major in law, then pick up much of the practical aspects of the profession through actual practice after law school. At the same time, they must periodically engage in what we call “continuing education,” so that they keep alert to changes in the law.

Life turns out much the same for medical students, though their education is significantly more practical than that of law students. After studying biology and chemistry as undergraduates, they learn the basics of the human body, disease and injury at medical school, while accumulating clinical experience as well. …

Werner Stegmaier, October 2022

The Art of Living as an Art of Orientation

It is an attractive idea to make an art out of one’s life, and to not just to manage it in its economic, moral, and religious conditions, but to shape it – at least in part – according to aesthetic criteria. The economic, moral, and religious conditions in modern, enlightened, and highly developed societies as we know them today have so far permitted doing so: The economic hardships have, despite all crises, become less difficult; public morals have pluralized in many countries and become more flexible; religions are rather oriented to spiritual experiences than dogmas. The lives of if not all people, then at least large parts of such privileged societies can enter into greater freedom, enjoy it and be self-sufficient in the free spaces guaranteed by politics based on the rule of law and with the resources generated in socially restrained markets. …

To be published in: Nietzsche on the Art of Living: New Studies from the German-Speaking Nietzsche Research, edited by Günter Gödde, Jörg Zirfas, Eike Brock, Reinhard G. Mueller, and Werner Stegmaier (Nashville: Orientations Press, 2023 [forthcoming]).