For a long time I have been trying to create discursive space for multi-node argumentative and expository hypertexts that do not make each node into a complete argument, yet are not literary hyper-fictions or poems. (See Kolb 1994, 1996, and 1997)

Argumentation and exposition need some structure. That structure may be arranged in a linear fashion to be encountered step by step, though it seldom written that way even in standard philosophical texts. Few writers try Spinoza's "geometrical mode" of writing, and even Spinoza includes notes that expand and relate his points. Most authors distribute their argument in large chunks that may or may not be presented in a linear order, nor presented only once or only in one way.

In books, few do what Locke Carter recommends, create a "spatial" scattering of the requisites of the argument to be encountered by the wandering reader, but that mode is not unknown in written philosophy, for instance in parts of Plato and in Plotinus and the later Stoics. This mode has been less prominent in philosophy since the nineteenth-century dominance of the large Germanic book and the twentieth-century hegemony of the short academic essay.

The Sprawling Places hypertext has an outline leading into tangles and cross-linked regions. The narratives are even more cross-linked. Some expository sections stand outside the pyramid outline, and in these sections sets of nodes are allowed to interact to open up an approach, without stating a conclusion or presenting a straightforward argument. (The Tourism section that I read at the conference in Aarhus is one example; another is the short example included in this essay, a section on Place and Identity.)

But what about this little hypertext essay you are now reading? What space does it open for the reader? It offers several cross-linked regions of nodes and attempts to open some questions while itself being evidence for its points. This essay enacts the strategies it discusses: nodes of varying lengths, different link patterns, multiplication of navigation devices. This may suggest directions for thought and questioning.