An utterly original exploration of the timeless human virtues and how they apply to the way we live now, from a bold and dynamic French writer. In this graceful, incisive book, writer-philosopher André Comte-Sponville reexamines the classic human virtues to help us under-stand "what we should do, who we should be, and how we should live." In the process, he gives us an entirely new perspective on the value, the relevance, and even the charm of the Western ethical tradition. (...) Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Simone Weil, by way of Aquinas, Kant, Rilke, Nietzsche, Spinoza, and Rawls, among others, Comte-Sponville elaborates on the qualities that constitute the essence and excellence of humankind. Starting with politeness -- almost a virtue -- and ing with love -- which transcs all morality -- A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues takes us on a tour of the eighteen essential virtues: fidelity, prudence, temperance, courage, justice, generosity, compassion, mercy, gratitude, humility, simplicity, tolerance, purity, gentleness, good faith, and even, surprisingly, humor.Sophisticated and lucid, full of wit and vivacity, this modestly titled yet immensely important work provides an indispensable guide to finding what is right and good in everyday life. (shrink)
In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States for his first term and the conservative revolution that was slowly developing in the United States finally emerged in full-throated roar. Who provoked the conservative revolution? Shadia Drury provides a fascinating answer to the question as she looks at the work of Leo Strauss, a seemingly reclusive German Jewish emigré and scholar, who was one of the most influential individuals in the conservative movement, a man widely seen as (...) the godfather of the Republican party’s failed “Contract With America.” Among his students were individuals such as Alan Bloom, author of The Closing of the American Mind. Strauss influenced the work of Irving Kristol, Gertrude Himmelfarb and William Kristol, as well as Chief Justice Clarence Thomas and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Drury delves deeply into Strauss’s work at the University of Chicago where he taught his students that, if they truly loved America, they must save her from her fateful enchantment with liberalism. Leo Strauss and the American Right is a fascinating piece of work that anyone interested in understanding our current political situation will want to read. (shrink)
A comprehensive and scholarly exploration of the personal and philosophical origins of André Gorz's work, this book includes a unique analysis of his early untranslated texts, as well as critical discussions of his relationship to the work of Husserl, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Marx, and Habermas. Reassessing pivotal notions such as the "lifeworld" and the "subject," it argues that Gorz has pioneered a person-centred social theory in which the motive and the meaning of social critique is firmly rooted in people's lived (...) experience. (shrink)
Ever since Greek antiquity "disembodied knowledge" has often been taken as synonymous with "objective truth." Yet we also have very specific mental images of the kinds of bodies that house great minds--the ascetic philosopher versus the hearty surgeon, for example. Does truth have anything to do with the belly? What difference does it make to the pursuit of knowledge whether Einstein rode a bicycle, Russell was randy, or Darwin flatulent? Bringing body and knowledge into such intimate contact is occasionally seen (...) as funny, sometimes as enraging, and more often just as pointless. Vividly written and well illustrated, Science Incarnate offers concrete historical answers to such skeptical questions about the relationships between body, mind, and knowledge. Focusing on the seventeenth century to the present, Science Incarnate explores how intellectuals sought to establish the value and authority of their ideas through public displays of their private ways of life. Patterns of eating, sleeping, exercising, being ill, and having (or avoiding) sex, as well as the marks of gender and bodily form, were proof of the presence or absence of intellectual virtue, integrity, skill, and authority. Intellectuals examined in detail include René Descartes, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Ada Lovelace. Science Incarnate is at once very funny and deeply serious, addressing issues of crucial importance to present-day discussions about the nature of knowledge and how it is produced. It incorporates much that will interest cultural and social historians, historians of science and medicine, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists. (shrink)
In this paper I will put forward a simple case of a dynamical system which can exhibit both the indeterminism linked to escape to infinity and that linked to self-excitation. The case depends neither on the gravitational interaction between particles nor on their mutual collisions, and thus reveals the existence of a new kind of constraint that Newton's laws lay on the predictive power of classical dynamics.
Brian Garrett has criticized my diagnosis of the paradox of self-consciousness. In reply, I focus on the classification of 'I'-thoughts, and show how the notion of immunity to error through misidentification can be used to characterize 'I'-thoughts, even though an important class of 'I'-thoughts are not themselves immune to error through misidentification. 'I'-thoughts which are susceptible to error through misidentification are dependent upon those which are not. The dependence here has to do with how a thinker understands what would defeat (...) such thoughts. (shrink)
This translation is taken from Alain Badiou, emConditions/em, Paris: Eacute;ditions du Seuil, 1992, pp.83-90. Except for some final improvements, this is the text was first presented, in 1989, as a colloquium intervention at the emCollegrave;ge international de philosophie/em. br /.
Durante deacute;cadas, la historia de la filosofiacute;a ha separado a Kierkegaard de Hegel y a Hegel de Kierkegaard, en detrimento tanto de la grandeza especulativa del pensamiento kierkegaardiano como de la vena existencial del sistema de Hegel. En oposicioacute;n a esta desafortunada lectura, el presente artiacute;culo intenta mostrar la profunda convergencia que une internamente el estadio eacute;tico de Kierkegaard con las maacute;s importantes categoriacute;as loacute;gicas de Hegel. Ambos pensadores conciben la idea como el poder real del devenir subjetivo y (...) la existencia como la concrecioacute;n actual de lo ideal. Para ambos, la pura eneacute;rgeia de la libertad, que comienza en la posibilidad abstracta y esteacute;tica de la inmediatez subjetiva, se realiza a siacute; misma como la actual concrecioacute;n de la finitud, capaz de asumir lo temporal y contingente por la fuerza eterna y necesaria del deber. La repeticioacute;n kierkegaardiana no es nada sino el poder de lo ideal, capaz de mediar el flujo de las diferencias finitas en la eterna identidad del sujeto. Sin embargo, tanto para Kierkegaard como para Hegel existe una absoluta contradiccioacute;n, llamada a promover la superacioacute;n de lo eacute;tico. (shrink)