Book-Text-Read-Zines · Philosophy · Theory

Philosophical Temperaments: From Plato to Foucault

Peter Sloterdijk turns his keen eye to the history of western thought, conducting colorful readings of the lives and ideas of the world’s most influential intellectuals. Featuring nineteen vignettes rich in personal characterizations and theoretical analysis, Sloterdijk’s companionable volume casts the development of philosophical thinking not as a buildup of compelling books and arguments but as a lifelong, intimate struggle with intellectual and spiritual movements, filled with as many pitfalls and derailments as transcendent breakthroughs.

Sloterdijk delves into the work and times of Aristotle, Augustine, Bruno, Descartes, Foucault, Fichte, Hegel, Husserl, Kant, Kierkegaard, Leibniz, Marx, Nietzsche, Pascal, Plato, Sartre, Schelling, Schopenhauer, and Wittgenstein. He provocatively juxtaposes Plato against shamanism and Marx against Gnosticism, revealing both the vital external influences shaping these intellectuals’ thought and the excitement and wonder generated by the application of their thinking in the real world. The philosophical “temperament” as conceived by Sloterdijk represents the uniquely creative encounter between the mind and a diverse array of cultures. It marks these philosophers’ singular achievements and the special dynamic at play in philosophy as a whole. Creston Davis’s introduction details Sloterdijk’s own temperament, surveying the celebrated thinker’s intellectual context, rhetorical style, and philosophical persona.

Text and Image via CUP

Human-ities · Philosophy

Wittgenstein’s Master: Frank Ramsey, the genius who died at 26

Frank Ramsey was 26 years old when he died after an operation at Guy’s Hospital in January 1930. In his short life, he had made lasting contributions to mathematics, economics and philosophy, and to the thinking of a number of his contemporaries, including Ludwig Wittgenstein.

When I taught at St Anne’s, Oxford during the 1980s, I was introduced by my colleague Gabriele Taylor to Ramsey’s sister, Margaret Paul, by then retired from teaching economics at Lady Margaret Hall college. As with anyone with some knowledge of the fields of enquiry Ramsey influenced, I was immediately recruited into helping with her research into his life and thought, though in a minor capacity; she had a formidable array of other helpers besides, from eminent philosophers like Taylor and PF Strawson onwards.

Frank Ramsey was 18 when Margaret was born, so her own memories of him were those of a little girl. A large part of her motivation in writing about him was to get to know him. In this quest she was equally tireless and scrupulous. Most aspects of his work require advanced technical competence, but she was determined to understand them; an afternoon at her house talking about him could be as gruelling as it was educative.

Excerpt from an article written by Margaret Paul. Continue HERE

Art/Aesthetics · Shows · Social/Politics

9/11 as ART

THE GAMBIT OF THIS EXHIBITION about 9/11, which includes sixty-nine works by forty-two artists, is deceptively simple: to eschew any images of the attacks and any made in response to them. (As if to prove the rule, there is one exception, a 2003 proposal by Ellsworth Kelly to reconfigure Ground Zero as a giant trapezoidal park of bright green grass.) Instead, MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey writes in his brochure, “this exhibition considers the ways in which 9/11 has altered how we see and experience the world in its wake.” This is a strong thesis—one that asks to be taken seriously. As for the ban on images of 9/11, Eleey regards the attacks as an intervention in spectacle that was a spectacle in its own right: 9/11 “was made to be used,” he argues, with the Bush administration no less than Al Qaeda in mind. “Why would I want to repeat such transgression?” His catalog essay begins with an epigraph from Wittgenstein—“A picture held us captive”—and his purported aim is to release us from this captivity, to despectacularize 9/11, a little.

Written by Hal Foster, ART FORUM. Continue HERE

View of “September 11,” 2011. Foreground: Christo, Red Package, 1968. Background, from left: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Questions), 1991; Willem de Rooij, Index: Riots, Protest, Mourning and Commemoration (as represented in newspapers, January 2000–July 2002), 2003. Photo: Matthew Septimus.