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Daily Archives: July 21, 2008
Are You a Passive Pessimist, ala Schopenhauer, or an Agressive Pessimist, ala Nietzsche?: A Review of Joshua Dienstag’s Book, “Pessimism”
Pessimism (Princeton 2006), by Joshua Foa Dienstag, is excellent on many levels, but its chief value is in the way it locates “pessimism” as an identifiable philosophical position. The author traces the pessimistic tradition through the Dionysian pre-Socratics, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, … Continue reading
James Carse, a retired academic who ran the Religious Studies Program at New York University for 30 years, just came out with a new book titled, The Religious Case Against Belief. In an interview at Salon.com, he said something about Thomas Aquinas … Continue reading
It’s a Madhouse!—But I Still Want To Live: Albert Camus, Fichte’s “Flungness,” and the Planet of the Apes
When I think of Albert Camus’s famous quip that the first question of philosophy is whether or not to commit suicide, I also think of the late-1960s version of Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston. Three astronauts find themselves in a … Continue reading
John Gray, Professor of European thought at the London School of Economics, has this rather sharp take on utopianism in his book, Black Mass (2007): The pursuit of a condition of harmony defines utopian thought and discloses its basic … Continue reading
When your mother’s belly rose, I did not leave you unmoored, but bound and docked you by umbilical cord. And when the floodgates opened, and you washed forth like a turtle, held aloft and helpless in a … Continue reading
Be just arrived. Be Midwestern dirt under Midwestern fingernails puncturing the skin of a juice-heavy orange. Be flesh of orange mist of orange before orange in sunshine of orange. Be the light softening the clay-lipped … Continue reading
The book, Age of Progaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (Holt 2001), attempts to demystify propaganda and the persuasion process, and it does so in a scholarly, fluid, and engaging manner. The authors, Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson, walk … Continue reading