Karl Popper’s Undistinguished Take on Existentialism

In Chapter 18 ‘Utopia and Violence’, of Conjectures and Refutations, Karl Popper writes: We can see here that the problem of the true and the false rationalisms [Utopianism] is part of a larger problem. Ultimately it is the problem of a sane attitude towards our own existence and its limitations–that very problem of which so muchContinue reading “Karl Popper’s Undistinguished Take on Existentialism”

‘The Master’: Coming Undone And Putting It Back Together

One way to ‘read’ Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master is as an enormously ambitious, technically brilliant cinematic riff on Ron Hubbard and Scientology, on a time fertile for cults and messianic healing: post-WWII America, when broken men–post-traumatic stress disorder is as old as war–drifted back home, and were, just as many other Americans, looking forContinue reading “‘The Master’: Coming Undone And Putting It Back Together”

Nietzsche on the Discontinuity Between Definitions and History

From The Genealogy of Morals, Essay 2, Section 13: Only something which has no history is capable of being defined.  The first time I read the Genealogy, I somehow skipped this line, or at least did not pay undue attention to it. When I read the Genealogy again, I didn’t miss it, and I paid attention:Continue reading “Nietzsche on the Discontinuity Between Definitions and History”

Hegel’s Stoic and Prison Literature

In his Introduction to Hegel’s Metaphysics (University of Chicago Press, 1969, pp 30-31), Ivan Soll notes that, With great sociological and psychological insight Hegel says that “stoicism, the freedom which goes back into the pure universality of thought, could appear as a general form of the world spirit only in a time of general fearContinue reading “Hegel’s Stoic and Prison Literature”

Teaching Philosophy By Reading Out Loud

This semester, while teaching my two classes (Freud and Psychoanalysis; Modern Philosophy), I’ve relied at times on reading out loud my assigned texts in class. In particular, I’ve read out, often at great length, Leibniz’s Discourses on Metaphysics and The Mondadology, portions from The Critique of Pure Reason, and in the Freud class, portions ofContinue reading “Teaching Philosophy By Reading Out Loud”