Analysis of the possible origin, role, and use of folgezettel in Luhmann's method
Great article from Sean Lawson.
- Theory: Folgezettel may be a result of Luhmann's exposure to the idea of note slips from other great thinkers combined with his legal training (which in the US emphasizes case briefs (literature notes) and outlines (permanent notes) to build a synthesis understanding)
- Folgezettel are not useless but are not necessary for everyone in all cases, and can be implemented as outlines if needed
My own hunch is that Luhmann had at least some classical humanities education that also emphasizes decomposition and synthesis, but his legal training likely at least reinforced the ideas if it didn't introduce them. Plus his readings on the topics he was interested in would invariably show lines of thought being traced and it is unlikely he would not have noticed that as well.
I do agree with the second major point, that folgezettel can be implemented as outlines and do not require Luhmann-style IDs. When I experimented with those IDs early on I found I was often using them in place of creating inter-note links, relying on the note sequences to establish relationships, which is not really any different than using folders.
IMO outline notes are the way to go for most people. There is an additional approach, however, if the system supports transclusion of sections of a note. A PhD researcher on reddit previously described how he would write down the main ideas in his literature notes with headings like
## authorNameYYYY Idea name here with bullets/quotes/ etc under the heading. In his permanent notes he would have a
# Scholarship heading and then transclude in the relevant headings from the various literature notes relevant to that synthesized idea. This is an innovative approach to folgezettel that may be useful for those who require that capability, though it forces dependence on software that supports it. (as opposed to simple links between markdown files, which is more tool-agnostic)
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