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Tag Archives: Sartre
Listening closely to theist arguments–and Aquinas. As an agnostic, I’m not sure whether God exists or not, nor whether Thomas Aquinas’s metaphysics is wholly correct, but I’m also not the sort of person who is interested in practicing confirmation bias … Continue reading
Who Shapes and Defines the Clay, and Who Cuts the Deck of Definition? Hylomorphism, Aquinas, Sartre, and Evolution
What is hylomorphism? Hylomorphism is a term out of classical philosophy (first used by Aristotle, later picked up by Aquinas) where a designer takes raw material and uses her mind and hands to impose purpose and form on it, as … Continue reading
The following occurred to me on waking from a nap this afternoon: Existentialism can be summed up in just six words consisting of two sentences: You’re going to die. Your move. Chess players, medieval Germany, circa 1305-1340. (Image source: Wikipedia … Continue reading
Here’s the two-fold problem: (1) each of us is limited to a body we did not choose and that dies, and (2) science since Darwin has revealed living things to be machines that evolve by competition (the proteins in cells, … Continue reading
How much can you change your life and those of others, really? That’s a question I’ve been gnawing on a bit after seeing this past weekend an outdoor staging of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare, famously, was obsessed … Continue reading
The below video is a nice introduction to existentialism. And so is this brief passage written by historian Carlin Barton in her great book, Roman Honor: The Fire in the Bones (University of California Press 2001, 31-32): On the morning of … Continue reading
This was in the Los Angeles Times this past month: For the Trappist monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, life follows a pattern centuries old. They spend their days in the field and their nights in silence. They gather in prayer … Continue reading
Ah, young Hamlet!
The first ten minutes of this Twilight Zone episode is Rod Serling channeling Beckett, Kafka, and Sartre. It’s very cool. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is not on YouTube. I know the ending, though, and will tell you what it … Continue reading
Some of the lyrics: Give me something to believe. Cause I am living just to breath. And I need something more to keep on breathing for. So give me something to believe. Is atheism a dead end that leads to … Continue reading
I don’t like the snarky and dismissive tone of David Hart’s recent critique of atheism, but I think that, in his essay, he nevertheless hits his mark here and there. He prefers, for example, the sobriety of Nietzsche to the comfy … Continue reading
Inspired by Jerry Coyne’s call for a spring book reading list here, I’d like to offer to readers here the best book that you’ve probably never heard of: Hazel Barnes’s Humanistic Existentialism: The Literature of Possibility (University of Nebraska Press 1959), … Continue reading
Normally well sublimated atheist meaninglessness rudely and unexpectedly comes to the surface of football players’ awareness in this Onion Network News sports report:
In her essay “Greek Tragicomedy” (1964), I think that University of Colorado existentialist philosopher Hazel Barnes summed up human existence rather nicely in just a couple of sentences: [M]an’s imaginative reach transcends his actual capabilities. The goal he attains is never quite the … Continue reading
In asking, existentially, where we are, I think that there are two great facts and three great questions: It appears that we live within a paradox—a universe that made itself or has always existed. It also appears that the universe consists … Continue reading
I thought it might be fun (at least for me) to lay out, in a series of short blog posts, some of the basic terms and ideas that I present to my students when talking about the “close reading” of literary texts. … Continue reading
What, you say? Atheists, of all people, surely don’t have a problem with guilt. They can cuss, smoke, and masturbate to their hearts’ content, not feeling morally supervised by disapproving and invisible eyes. They can read any book they want. … Continue reading
I made this video a few months back. I still kind of like it: