David Kolb is an American philosopher and writer who trained in both Greek and Latin classical studies. After completing his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University, he taught philosophy at the University of Chicago and Bates College. He is now the Charles A. Dana Professor Emeritus at Bates College. Socrates in the Labyrinth (1994) and Sprawling Places (2008) figure as his two main hypertextual writings.
Kolb began Socrates in the Labyrinth in 1992 after reading Robert Coover’s article, “The End of Books,” for the New York Times while Kolb was visiting Eugene, OR. Having been introduced to Mark Bernstein, the owner of Eastgate Systems, Inc. by another hypertext essayist, George Landow, Kolb purchased a copy of Storyspace and set out to use hypertext for exploring new methods for making philosophical arguments. Ultimately, the creation of Socrates in the Labyrinth allows Kolb to rethink Landow’s view of deconstruction and hypertext presented in Landow’s book, Hypertext (1992), arguing instead that hypertext doesn’t necessarily take away a “primary axis of organization” (12) or “de-center[s]” a text (13). “It can,” Kolb says, “but it doesn’t have to” (“Live Stream Traversal,” October 27, 2017).
“Sprawling Places,” Kolb's second major work, is a web-based hypertext that draws upon Kolb's interest in philosophical notions of space and place. It looks at “contemporary places, and suggests new ways to evaluate them, while questioning some of the common critiques leveled against them.” As Kolb points out, “The text is large, it contains over 100,000 words and nearly a thousand images, on over 600 pages. Some of the pages are quite short, others are longer” (“About”). It was created for the web using Eastgate Systems, Inc.’s Tinderbox and offers an accompanying book published by the University of Georgia Press.
Kolb currently resides in Eugene, OR and remains active with writing and lectures.