Abstract Biography is usually distinguished from history and, in comparison, looked down upon. R. G. Collingwood's view of biography seems to fit this statement considering that he says it has only gossip-value and that “history it can never be“. His main concern is that biography exploits and arouses emotions which he excludes from the domain of history. In the paper I will try to show that one can salvage a more positive view of biography from within (...) Collingwood's work and claim that his explicit attacks against biography target specifically the sensationalist kind. First, I will show that Collingwood, in his later writings, allowed that, not only thought, but also relevant emotions can be the subject matter of history, which means that even if one takes biography to deal with emotions, it can still qualify as history. Second, I will argue, based mainly on Collingwood's Principles of Art , that biography can be compared to portrait painting, in which case, it can be redeemed as a work of art and not just craft and, thus, have more than entertainment value. It can also be part of history, and more specifically part of the history of art which Collingwood endorses, if one takes the life of an individual, recounted by a biographer, to be an artistic creation, as Collingwood seems to suggest. (shrink)
This is a review article discussing James Harris’s excellent study of David Hume’s full philosophical career including his epistemology, moral philosophy, politics, economics, religion, and history. Harris argues against a common view that in his later writings Hume is merely working out and developing the ideas of his Treatise of Human Nature. He even argues that Hume’s two Enquiries are substantially new works and not mere recasting of his youthful Treatise. Harris writes that philosophy for Hume is a ‘a style (...) of thought and of writing rather than a subject matter or body of doctrine.’. He carefully analyses Hume’s many essays, including those on economics and politics and provides the context which is needed to understand their significance. He explains how Hume modified and built his views on his reading of both contemporary and ancient authors. Each chapter provides a careful study of Hume’s writings in the context of his extant letters and manuscripts. Harris’s Intellectual Biography is recommended for anyone who wishes to understand his individual writings as well as those who seek to an overall understanding of his intellectual development. (shrink)
This book constitutes the first volume of a projected two-volume intellectual biography of Auguste Comte, the founder of modern sociology and a philosophical movement called positivism. Volume One offers a reinterpretation of Comte's "first career," (1798-1842) when he completed the scientific foundation of his philosophy. It describes the interplay between Comte's ideas and the historical context of postrevolutionary France, his struggles with poverty and mental illness, and his volatile relationships with friends, family, and colleagues, including such famous contemporaries as (...) Saint-Simon, the Saint-Simonians, Guizot, and John Stuart Mill. Pickering shows that the man who called for a new social philosophy based on the sciences was not only ill at ease in the most basic human relationships, but also profoundly questioned the ability of the purely scientific spirit to regenerate the political and social world. (shrink)
Interviewing offers the biographer unique opportunities for gathering data. I offer three examples. The emphatic bacterial geneticist Norton Zinder confronted me with an interpretation of Barbara McClintock's science that was as surprising as it proved to be robust. The relaxed setting of the human geneticist Walter Nance's rural summer home contributed to an unusually improvisational oral history that produced insights into his experimental and thinking style. And "embedding" myself with the biochemical geneticist Charles Scriver in his home, workplace, and city (...) enabled me to experience the social networks that drive the practical events of his career, which in turn helped me explain the theoretical basis of his science. Face-to-face interaction and multisensory experience will shape each biographer's experience uniquely. Recent developments in sensory physiology suggest that the experience of integrating sense data encourages different patterns of observation and reflection. It is reasonable, then, to think that biography based on face-to-face interviews will, for a given author, have a different character than one based entirely on documents. I reflect on how interviewing shapes my own writing and I encourage the reader to do the same. (shrink)
The life of George Price (1922-1975), the eccentric polymath genius and father of the Price equation, is used as a prism and counterpoint through which to consider an age-old evolutionary conundrum: the origins of altruism. This biographical project, and biography and history more generally, are considered in terms of the possibility of using form to convey content in particular ways. Closer to an art form than a science, this approach to scholarship presents both a unique challenge and promise.
In this paper the authors seek to contribute to a new ontology of an embodied, desiring subject through an exploration of their own subjectivities and of the ways in which subjectivities are produced and transformed through affective attachments to place. Using the method of collective biography and drawing on Deleuze and Guattari’s concepts of desire and territorialization they examine their affective responses and attachments to place: Australia and the Czech Republic. As a point of departure for their analysis, the (...) authors ask: What does it mean to be homesick for a place which is not one’s home? What does it mean to desire a place? What of the other place is inscribed in the body? In asking this, the authors show the extent to which place is a zone of immanence in which a continual play of de- and re-territorialization occurs. (shrink)
Much writing on scientific biography focuses on the legitimacy and utility of this genre. In contrast, this essay discusses a variety of genre conventions and imperatives which continue to exert a powerful influence on the selection of biographical subjects, and to control the plot and structure of the ensuing biographies. These imperatives include the following: the plot templates of the Bildungsroman (the realistic novel of individual self-development), the life trajectories of Weberian ideal types, and the functional elements and personae (...) of the folkloric tale of the "hero's quest." The essay discusses the nature and application of these genre conventions in some detail, with the conclusion that biography, however useful, exerts a powerfully distorting influence on the image of how most science gets done. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 40 - 61 In this review article of Henk Nellen, _Hugo Grotius. A lifelong struggle for Peace in Church and State, 1583–1645_ the story of Grotius’s life is outlined and issues of interpretation are discussed. It is argued that this biography supports the argument that Grotius towards the end of his life was close to becoming a Catholic. It seems plausible that Grotius’s principled refusal to request permission to return to the Republic (...) may have been connected to his disappointment about his own less principled behaviour in 1618. (shrink)
Abstract Is `History Man', Fred Inglis' biography on R.G. Collingwood a successful biography? Inglis' explicit ambition is to portray the concrete figure Collingwood by abducting him from what he calls the vacuum-packed academic world of scholars. But the best biographers look for a balanced equilibrium between rendering philosophical ideas and dramatizing a philosopher's life. Put another way, they evoke the interweaving of a philosopher's thought with the vicissitudes of his life. Despite the unmistakable qualities of this biography, (...) Fred Inglis did not fully succeed in finding that very balance, mainly due to a lack of philosophical background. While Oxford University Press with the new edition of his works and manuscripts is thoroughly reorienting the traditional view of Collingwood, Inglis' fluently written but rather biased portrayal does no full justice to the heart of his fascinating philosophy and personality. (shrink)
This paper explores the special problems encountered by the biographer of a living scientific subject. In particular, it explores the complex of problems that emerges from the intense interpersonal dynamic involving issues of distance, privacy and trust. It also explores methodological problems having to do with oral history interviews and other supporting documentation. It draws on the personal experience of the author and the biographical subject of G. Ledyard Stebbins Jr., the botanist, geneticist and evolutionist. It also offers prescriptives and (...) recommendations for future research. (shrink)
Richard Goldschmidt was one of the most controversial biologists of the mid-twentieth century. Rather than fade from view, Goldschmidt's work and reputation has persisted in the biological community long after he has. Goldschmidt's longevity is due in large part to how he was represented by Stephen J. Gould. When viewed from the perspective of the biographer, Gould's revival of Goldschmidt as an evolutionary heretic in the 1970s and 1980s represents a selective reinvention of Goldschmidt that provides a contrast to other (...) kinds of biographical commemorations by scientists. (shrink)
This is the first full-length biography in more than fifty years of Immanuel Kant, one of the giants amongst the pantheon of Western philosophers as well as the one with the most powerful and broad influence on contemporary philosophy. It is well known that Kant spent his entire life in an isolated part of Prussia living the life of a typical university professor. This has given rise to the view that Kant was a pure thinker with no life of (...) his own, or at least none worth considering seriously. In this biography, Manfred Kuehn debunks that myth once and for all. Taking account of the most recent scholarship Professor Kuehn allows the reader to follow the same journey that Kant himself took in emerging as a central figure in modern philosophy. (shrink)
This is the first intellectual biography of Descartes in English. Stephen Gaukroger provides a rich, authoritative account of Descartes' intellectual and personal development, understood in its historical context, and offers a reassessment of all aspects of his life and work.
This article discusses recent attempts to provide the genre of biography with a philosophical, theoretical foundation and attempts to show that such efforts are fundamentally misguided. Biography is, I argue, a profoundly nontheoretical activity, and this, precisely, makes it philosophically interesting. Instead of looking to philosophy to provide a theory of biography, we should, I maintain, look to biography to provide a crucially important example and model of what Ludwig Wittgenstein called "the kind of understanding that (...) consists in seeing connections." This kind of understanding stands in sharp contrast to the theoretical understanding provided by science and is, Wittgenstein maintained, what we as philosophers are, or should be, striving for. (shrink)
One of the founders of modern philosophical thought Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel has gained the reputation of being one of the most abstruse and impenetrable of thinkers. This major biography of Hegel offers not only a complete account of the life, but also a perspicuous overview of the key philosophical concepts in Hegel's work in a style that will be accessible to professionals and non-professionals alike. Terry Pinkard situates Hegel firmly in the historical context of his times. The story (...) of that life is of an ambitious, powerful thinker living in a period of great tumult dominated by the figure of Napoleon. The Hegel who emerges from this account is a complex, fascinating figure of European modernity, who offers us a still compelling examination of that new world born out of the political, industrial, social, and scientific revolutions of his period. (shrink)
Review Essay: Exemplary Stories: On the Uses of Biography in Recent Sociology: Alan Sica and Stephen Turner The Disobedient Generation: Social Theorists in the Sixties ; Mathieu Deflem Sociologists in a Global Age: Biographical Perspectives ; Anthony Elliott and Charles Lemert, The New Individualism: The Emotional Costs of Globalization.
Reid, Constance. Hilbert (a Biography). Reviewed by Corcoran in Philosophy of Science 39 (1972), 106–08. -/- Constance Reid was an insider of the Berkeley-Stanford logic circle. Her San Francisco home was in Ashbury Heights near the homes of logicians such as Dana Scott and John Corcoran. Her sister Julia Robinson was one of the top mathematical logicians of her generation, as was Julia’s husband Raphael Robinson for whom Robinson Arithmetic was named. Julia was a Tarski PhD and, in recognition (...) of a distinguished career, was elected President of the American Mathematics Society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Robinson http://www.awm-math.org/noetherbrochure/Robinson82.html. (shrink)
In the growing body of academic literature on biography that has developed in the last few decades, Virginia Woolf's essay, "The New Biography,"1 has come to occupy a central place—mentioned, discussed and quoted from, I would estimate, more often than any other piece of writing on the subject. Virginia Woolf's distinctive view of the nature and limitations of biography has thus had, and continues to have, a deep and wide-ranging influence on the way the genre is discussed (...) by critics and theorists. My aim in this essay is to present a detailed analysis of Virginia Woolf's thinking about biography in order to make clear why I believe its influence on contemporary theorising about biography is, on the whole, a misfortune. As is often pointed out, Virginia Woolf's views on biography are closely connected with—indeed, to an extent that I hope to make clear, they are simply an application of—her views on fiction. In the light of this, I have tried to trace some of the most striking features of her thinking about biography back to her earlier thoughts on fiction, as presented in both her novels and her essays. The result, I hope, will be that, while the attractions of her way of looking at fiction and biography are recognised and revealed, the manifest flaws in her thinking on these subjects are clearly exposed. (shrink)
This biography of Jacques Derrida tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world – a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the École Normale Supérieure, the cluster (...) of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers and philosophers with whom Derrida struck up a friendship: Louis Althusser, Emmanuel Levinas, Jean Genet, and Hélène Cixous, among others. We also witness an equally long series of often brutal polemics fought over crucial issues with thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, John R. Searle, and Jürgen Habermas, as well as several controversies that went far beyond academia, the best known of which concerned Heidegger and Paul de Man. We follow a series of courageous political commitments in support of Nelson Mandela, illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. And we watch as a concept – deconstruction – takes wing and exerts an extraordinary influence way beyond the philosophical world, on literary studies, architecture, law, theology, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies. In writing this compelling and authoritative biography, Benoît Peeters talked to over a hundred individuals who knew and worked with Derrida. He is also the first person to make use of the huge personal archive built up by Derrida throughout his life and of his extensive correspondence. Peeters’ book gives us a new and deeper understanding of the man who will perhaps be seen as the major philosopher of the second half of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Review of Desmond M. Clarke. Descartes: A Biography. xi + 507 pp., apps., figs., bibl., index. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. $40 (cloth).; Richard Watson, Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of René Descartes. viii + 375 pp., figs., bibl., index. Boston: David R. Godine, 2002. $35 (cloth).
Written by one of the world's preeminent authorities on Kierkegaard, this 2001 biography was the first to reveal the delicate imbrication of Kierkegaard's life and thought. To grasp the importance and influence of Kierkegaard's thought far beyond his native Denmark, it is necessary to trace the many factors that led this gifted but 'exceedingly childish youth' to grapple with traditional philosophical problems and religious themes in a way that later generations would recognize as amounting to a philosophical revolution. This (...) book offers a powerful narrative account which will be of particular interest to philosophers, literary theorists, intellectual historians, and scholars of religious studies as well as any non-specialist looking for an authoritative guide to the life and work of one of the most original and fascinating figures in Western philosophy. (shrink)
A comprehensive biography which covers Adorno's life, work and times: from childhood, through to his student years, his years in emigration, his return to post-war Germany, his time in Frankfurt, his role as a public intellectual, and his ...
James Harris’s new Hume biography offers, among other things, ‘a series of conjectures as to what Hume’s intentions were in writing in the particular ways that he did about human nature, politics, economics, history, and religion’. The biography is particularly novel with regard to Hume’s intentions when writing about religion, which, Harris argues, were rather benign. Harris fails to appreciate the full extent of the difficulties attaching to his series of conjectures, however.
René Descartes is best remembered today for writing 'I think, therefore I am', but his main contribution to the history of ideas was his effort to construct a philosophy that would be sympathetic to the new sciences that emerged in the seventeenth century. To a great extent he was the midwife to the Scientific Revolution and a significant contributor to its key concepts. In four major publications, he fashioned a philosophical system that accommodated the needs of these new sciences and (...) thereby earned the unrelenting hostility of both Catholic and Calvinist theologians, who relied on the scholastic philosophy that Descartes hoped to replace. His contemporaries claimed that his proofs of God's existence in the Meditations were so unsuccessful that he must have been a cryptic atheist and that his discussion of skepticism served merely to fan the flames of libertinism. This is the first biography in English that addresses the full range of Descartes' interest in theology, philosophy and the sciences and that traces his intellectual development through his entire career. (shrink)
Thomas Hobbes is recognized as one of the fathers of modern philosophy and political theory. In his own time he was as famous for his work in physics, geometry, and religion. He associated with some of the greatest writers, scientists, and politicians of his age. Martinich has written a complete and accessible biography of Hobbes. The book takes full account of the historical and cultural context in which Hobbes lived, drawing on both published and unpublished sources. It will be (...) a great resource for philosophers, political theorists and historians of ideas. The clear, crisp prose style will also ensure that the book appeals to general readers with an interest in the history of philosophy, the rise of modern science and the English Civil War. (shrink)
Julian Schwinger was one of the leading theoretical physicists of the twentieth century. His contributions are as important, and as pervasive, as those of Richard Feynman, with whom he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize for Physics. Yet, while Feynman is universally recognized as a cultural icon, Schwinger is little known even to many within the physics community. In his youth, Julian Schwinger was a nuclear physicist, turning to classical electrodynamics after World War II. In the years after the war, he (...) was the first to renormalize quantum electrodynamics. Subsequently, he presented the most complete formulation of quantum field theory and laid the foundations for the electroweak synthesis of Glashow, Weinberg, and Salam, and he made fundamental contributions to the theory of nuclear magnetic resonance, to many-body theory, and to quantum optics. He developed a unique approach to quantum mechanics, measurement algebra, and a general quantum action principle. His discoveries include 'Feynman's' parameters and 'Glauber's' coherent states; in later years he also developed an alternative to operator field theory which he called Source Theory, reflecting his profound phenomenological bent. His late work on the Thomas-Fermi model of atoms and on the Casimir effect continues to be an inspiration to a new generation of physicists. This biography describes the many strands of his research life, while tracing the personal life of this private and gentle genius. (shrink)
Fleck's Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact foregrounds claims traditionally excluded from reception, often regarded as opposed to fact, scientific claims that are increasingly seldom discussed in connection with philosophy of science save as examples of pseudoscience. I am especially concerned with scientists who question the epidemiological link between HIV and AIDS and who are thereby discounted—no matter their credentials, no matter the cogency of their arguments, no matter the sobriety of their statistics—but also with other classic examples of (...) so-called pseudoscience including homeopathy and other sciences, such as cold fusion. The pseudoscience version of the demarcation problem turns out to include some of the details that Latour articulates multifariously under a variety of species or kinds in his essay/interactive research project/monograph, ‘Biography of an Investigation’. Given the economic constraints of the current day, especially in the academy, the growing trend in almost all disc.. (shrink)
This collection of essays deals with the relationship between Wittgenstein's life and his philosophy. The first two essays reflect on general problems inherent in philosophical biography itself. The essays that follow draw on recently published letters as well as recently published diaries from the 1930s to explore Wittgenstein's background as an engineer and its relation to the Tractatus, the impact of his schizoid personality on his approach to philosophy, his role as a diarist, letter-writer and polemicist, and finally the (...) complex issue of Wittgenstein as a Jew. Written by a first-rate team of Wittgenstein scholars including two published biographers of the philosopher, Brian McGuinness and Ray Monk, this collection will appeal to anyone with a serious interest in the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century. (shrink)
In the last years, a series of automated self-representational social media sites have emerged that shed light on the information ethics associated with participation in Web 2.0. Sites like Zoominfo.com, Pipl.com, 123People.com and Yasni.com not only continually mine and aggregate personal information and biographic data from the web and beyond to automatically represent the lives of people, but they also engage algorithmic networking logics to represent connections between them; capturing not only who people are, but whom they are connected to. (...) Indeed, these processes of 'auto-biography' are 'secret' ones that for the most part escape the user's attention. This article explores how these sites of auto-biography reveal the complexities of the political economy of Web 2.0, as well as implicate an ethics of exposure concerning how these processes at once participate in the erosion of privacy, and at the same time, in the reinforcement of commodification and surveillance regimes. (shrink)
Michael Eckert has written a remarkable biography of Arnold Sommerfeld , the “off-scale” theoretical physicist who made his Seminar at the University of Munich the outstanding school of theoretical physics of the first third of the twentieth century. Sommerfeld was the teacher and mentor of a large number of exceptional theoretical physicists who studied with him either as doctoral or post-doctoral studentsSee the Wikipedia entry for Arnold Sommerfeld for a complete listing of all his students by category.; and among (...) these, Peter Debye, Max von Laue, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Linus Pauling and Hans Bethe became Nobel laureates.In his prologue, Eckert noted that a scientific biography should serve not only as a vehicle to describe and explain scientific processes in a social and cultural context, but must also present “the ambitions, passions, and moral choices of a life in science”. Eckert was able to meet these demands by drawing on Sommerfeld’s personal and .. (shrink)
The existentialist philosopher Karl Jaspers is the father of a discourse on the spiritual consequences of the Holocaust. First addressed as the Schuldfrage (the question of guilt) by Jaspers immediately after the Second World War in his famous Heidelberg lecture, it has reappeared in various forms in German life and letters. Post-unification Germany has witnessed the valorization of the German experience of the Second World War. This ongoing re-evaluation has its antecedents in the generational literature of the 1970s and 1980s. (...) Whereas the Vaterliteratur of the 1970s (by authors such as Christoph Meckel, Uwe Timm, and Peter Henisch) was often embedded in a left-wing critique of the establishment, recent contributions to this growing genre (by Marcel Beyer, Stephan Wackwitz, Wibke Bruhns, and Ulla Hahn among others) speak to the issue of collective identity and transgenerational family trauma outside distinct left- and right-wing interpretations of National Socialism. The current writings on the life during the Third Reich (filtered through the experiences of discrete generations) are a confluence of historical writing, memorial literature, biography, and fiction. They are closely related to the discussions that W. G. Sebald initiated in his 1997 lecture series on the silence of German postwar literature with respect to German suffering. The subsequent debate on how to bring closure to this ?German suffering? was intensified by Günter Grass's widening of the concept of German victimization beyond the air war controversy in his book Crabwalk (2002). As Grass distinguishes clearly between the various post-World War II generations (and their different perspectives on historical events), the question becomes whether these recent writings will bring about a final so-called ?zero hour? in German postwar history. (shrink)
‘Books are the work of solitude, and the children of silence.’ Thus Marcel Proust. The writer is not the same person as the man. The writer, if any good, is a different person, a higher person or at least one who distils something more worthy than is evidenced in the blunderings and fumblings and inadequacies of the everyday character who shares the same skin. This was the basis of Proust's own blistering attack on Sainte-Beuve, to the effect that the critic (...) substituted gossip for criticism and, incidentally, failed to recognize the genius of Baudelaire.In philosophy we have our own Proustian tendency, in the unlikely form of Karl Popper, For Popper, the provenance of ideas is supremely unimportant—and so, by extension is the biography of their authors. A healthy corrective, one might think, to the present day culture of celebrity, even at the intellectual level, and to the flood of philosophical biographies and title-tattle. At a more serious level, it warns us that we should not treat a philosopher's ideas with suspicion because (just because he was a Nazi in his lifetime or she was a communist when she was young or the apostle of equality is a snob living high on the hoof or the advocate of open discussion anything but its practitioner. (shrink)
This article discusses attempts of Russian philosophers of the 19th and 20th centuries to suggest thegenre of “philosophical biography” as a special kind of philosophical work. So, philosophical biography is treated as an understanding of life. The most important features of philosophical biography in Russian thinkers’ interpretation are as follows: the focus on comprehension of life-drama, in which thoughts and senses act as personal events; the demand of spiritual affinity as a condition for understanding; and the creation (...) of spiritual image as the main task of biography. (shrink)
Michael Losonsky - Locke: A Biography - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46:1 Journal of the History of Philosophy 46.1 175-176 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Michael Losonsky Colorado State University Roger Woolhouse. Locke: A Biography. Cambridge-New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. xviii + 528. Cloth, $39.99. "A man of versatile mind"—a remark from a letter to Locke by a life-long friend—is the subtitle of the first chapter of this biography. It could (...) also be the book's subtitle. Relying on Locke's correspondence, manuscripts, and mostly unpublished journals, Woolhouse pieces together a detailed quilt that exhibits the tremendous variety of Locke's interests and activities. Locke, who admitted to wandering interests , wrote about medicine, horticulture, religion, education, economics, government, and human understanding, as well as occasional poetry and a play. He even.. (shrink)
For forty years, Creighton Peden has been engaged in significant scholarship to preserve the nineteenth and twentieth-century tradition of American empirical, pragmatic theology and in particular, the work of the Chicago School. He has edited or coedited several volumes of authors’ unpublished works including one with John Gaston on Edward Scribner Ames, also published in 2011. Further, he has created a series of intellectual biographies on leaders of this unique tradition.Peden’s biography of Ames is organized in three sections. The (...) opening two chapters set the historical context of Ames’s work in the Disciples of Christ denomination and in his own personal autobiography. The middle section.. (shrink)
A philosophical biography challenges its author to do justice to both the philosophical and the biographical. In this book, Julian Young's level of detail and investigative rigor in exploring Nietzsche's life is such that from very early on one begins to have doubts about how he is going to connect these details with Nietzsche's philosophical positions. Would Young use the biographical reductively to explain Nietzsche's philosophy, or would he simply allow the two dimensions of his book to coexist without (...) effectively interacting? The primary success of this book is that at its high points it transcends the division between biography and philosophy, and thus avoids both of these clumsy alternatives.Young accomplishes this feat by tracking a single, dominant line of argument through Nietzsche's thought that also allows us to see his life as a whole. The unifying philosophical claim is that Nietzsche's final stance is "the fundamental position of The Birth of Tragedy, minus metaphysics" . For Young, The Birth of Tragedy explores the need for a creative and socially vibrant culture to respond to the fundamental question of how human beings can live meaningful and happy lives in spite of the inevitability of suffering and death. Young contends. (shrink)
It is well known that the historical texts composed under the Macedonian dynasty display certain element, which can be seen as attempts to make a clean break with the past; the formalist style of unbroken historical narrative was largely rejected in favour of historical biography in which the influence of rhetorical methods is self-evident. It is not known which criteria tipped the balance in favour of such a development, though we would do well to consider both the influence of (...) Antiquity, and the close ties that bound biography to hagiography, which from the empire's very beginnings also served as a uniquely Byzantine mode of promoting the image of the emperor. It may be legitimate to speak of a new type of historical writing which is specifically designed for the extremely beautified career of its subject and constitutes a contemporary movement which manifested itself in various cultural contexts. (shrink)
The “Lives of Great Religious Books” from Princeton University Press is a series with the worthy goal of introducing general readers to major works from many different traditions. The phrase “lives of” indicates that the point is not just to elucidate the work’s meaning but also to trace how it has been interpreted between the time of its composition and the present day. In Richard H. Davis, the author of one previous book on visual culture in India and another dealing (...) with Śaiva ritual, Princeton has found a happy conjunction of scholar and subject matter. To The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography Davis brings years of reflection on the diversity of religious expression in medieval and modern India, and.. (shrink)
Biography is an ancient literary genre. First of all—chronologically and logically it is a part of historiography. Whether we think of biography as more like history or more like fiction, what we want from it is a vivid sense of the person. The cover illustration of the fortieth anniversary edition of E. H. Carr’s What is History?1 is a close-up of an eye with fluffy white clouds against a blue iris and a dramatic black pupil in the center. (...) Magritte called this painting The False Mirror, an apt image for the untrustworthy nature of our perceptions of the world and, in its use here, for the uncertainties surrounding definitions of history in the past half century. Confusion has often accompanied .. (shrink)
Hayek’s Challenge is subtitled ‘an intellectual biography’ of Hayek, and the publisher describes it as ‘the first full intellectual biography’ of Hayek (front flap). But Caldwell himself appears to disagree: it was ‘never my goal’ to write ‘a comprehensive intellectual biography’ (177, note 10). Further, the book has a ‘secret title’: Caldwell’s Challenge (4). To assess what Caldwell has done, it is important to be very clear about what he was trying to do. Caldwell spells out in (...) detail, in engaging autobiographical passages, that his own interest is very much in the area of methodology; and.. (shrink)
Charles Hartshorne: Biography and Psychology of Sensation Charles Hartshorne is widely regarded as having been an important figure in twentieth century metaphysics and philosophy of religion. His contributions are wide-ranging. He championed the aspirations of metaphysics when it was unfashionable, and the metaphysic he championed helped change some of the fashions of philosophy. He counted … Continue reading Hartshorne: Biography and Psychology of Sensation →.