Well, I have put the Spinoza/Nietzsche book on the back burner for now. I have found that bashing religion with arguments makes me unhappy, so I’ll let it alone. I’ll work full-force instead on a book on Nietzsche, which was my original plan anyway. (I may also write a separate book on Spinoza; we’ll see.)
But I’m writing in a style that’s unconventional for philosophy. The technical term for the style is: “loosey-goosey.” I’m not sure it is a good style, or that I have any talent for pulling it off, so I’d be interested in hearing what any readers’ responses are.
I’ve put the introductory chapter over on the “About CH” page (link over on the right).
I’ll be honest, I only had the time to skim the chapter. But I rather liked the style. It is an “easy” style in the sense of being very readable. But it was not simple as a result, you wove together a number of important and interesting themes while giving a sort of biographical introduction.
To my mind, philosophers should write in this style more often. We philosophers tend to complain that no one cares about philosophy, but then all we produce is highly technical work which is written in undecipherable tribal languages. Your excerpt here seems more “popular” – and I take that to be a good thing. The easy and popular style is readable by ordinary intelligent people, and serves multiple functions: (a) it brings great questions to a wider audience,
(b) it shares a relatively detailed but not excessively technical view (you are well on your way to sharing to a wider audience a bit of Nz’s “practical wisdom”),
and (c) it stokes the intellect and leaves it satisfied but not full.
CS Lewis is, I think a master of this style. His work is entertaining to read and not highly technical, and for that reason some “professionals” scoff at it. But they shouldn’t, it is well reasoned even if a bit “loosey-goosey”. And when I read Lewis I feel nourished but hungry for more. Granted, if I want more, I have to turn beyond the book. But only truly great books can be a feast over and over again.
So I like the style – I think there is a real need for books like this (Machuga’s book does something similar with Aristotle, though it is a bit more technical). One problem you see on the philosophy bookshelves is that all of the “popular” work – the stuff that avoids the tribal technical languages and that does not lose the forest for the trees – is sort of silly. You know, the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy’ genre.
What we need is more “popular” work that is not so dependent on pop culture – that is, popular philosophy that can stand on its own. Until more philosophers start writing books like this, we don’t have much business complaining about our irrelevance.
I read it last night and enjoyed it, I’m passing it along to Sarah.
Nietzsche would laugh at this stupidity, laugh at your idiocy, laugh that you are untermensch and will never become ubermensch. You cannot understand Nietzsche, and never will. His genius is beyond words, his understanding an acclimation of his experience and his suffering obvious in his prose.
Behold, the fool who judges the doer and not the doith.
I tried judging the doith once but it made me feel funny.
I apologize, the context of my text was somehow removed. My post was in response to this: “But — still — it would be wrong to dismiss
Ecce Homo as the ravings of a madman, even if madness did play a part in its production.”
The first few (or many) times I read Ecce Homo, I thought it was Nz at the top of his game, and his wild exaggerations were exercises in instructive self satire. But the more I’ve read of his last letters and postcards, the more it seems to me likely that some sort of mania had set in by late 1888. So I do think some madness was creeping into EH, and maybe into the Case of Wagner, but I don’t see much evidence for it in Twilight. Of course, it is also possible (hell, virtually certain!) that I am a fool misreading a genius.
Maybe James should try the “Nietzschean health and the inherent pathology of Christianity” paper. Since it has a lot less playful spirit.
gods forbid that anyone take Nietzsche less seriously than he took himself (as if any other response were possible).
It’s perfect because it was written by my brother!!!