Category Archives: Books

Living cynically

(an excerpt from Doubts) The contemporary German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk defines “cynicism” as enlightened false consciousness. It is what results when we know all too well our own weaknesses and limitations, and our own involvement in dastardly practices, but then … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes, Meanings of life / death / social & moral stuff, Stacks of Books | 7 Comments

Brave New World

Reading Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (Viking, 2016). Kelly is one of the founding editors of Wired, and this book is about the promise of emerging technologies to, well, shape our … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Machines / gadgets / technology / games | 5 Comments

Justin E. H. Smith, The Philosopher

Reflections on Justin E. H. Smith, The Philosopher: A history in six types (Princeton UP, 2016). This is a timely, marvelous book that raises fruitful questions and criticisms especially about the ways philosophy is conceived by its modern-day, academic practitioners. … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Items of the academy / learning | 2 Comments

Idealism and contingency

(Reading Terry Pinkard’s marvelous German Philosophy 1760-1860: The Legacy of Idealism) It may be that the tenability of idealism comes down to the question of history. A resolute idealist discovers that the most fundamental framework of existence is expressed as … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Kant and/or Hume, Metaphysical musings | 1 Comment

On knowledge regimes

Yesterday I came across the phrase “early modern knowledge regime,” and it teased my curiosity. What could this term mean? [I already have a short list of books to start reading, but I’ll begin first with what’s in reach and … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Historical episodes | 4 Comments

What are libraries?

[Currently reading: The Meaning of the Library, Princeton University Press, 2015.] When I went to college, I had a part-time job reshelving books in the library. I really liked it: I was on my own, rolling a little wooden cart … Continue reading

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Does philosophy belong in the humanities?

In the old model of the liberal arts, the trivium was the ground floor of the “core curriculum” for students. It consisted in logic, rhetoric, and grammar, or the basic tools for scholarly reading, understanding, and writing. One then studied … Continue reading

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