Archive for March, 2014

On Freedom (and Chance)

Saturday, March 29th, 2014


Melodrama in the hotel room

Saturday, March 29th, 2014




From the Soul of Artists and Writers (Camus, Cocteau)

Saturday, March 29th, 2014



WH Glass on Being Blue

Thursday, March 20th, 2014


Irresponsibility and Innocence

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Man’s complete lack of responsibility, for his behaviour and for his nature, is the bitterest drop which the man of knowledge must swallow, if he had been in the habit of seeing responsibility and duty as humanity’s claim to nobility.

Good actions are sublimated evil actions; evil actions are good actions become coarse and stupid. The individual’s only demand, for self-enjoyment (along with the fear of losing it), is satisfied in all circumstances: man may act as he can, that is, as he must, whether in deeds of vanity, revenge, pleasure, usefulness, malice, cunning, or in deeds of sacrifice, pity, knowledge.
His powers of judgment determine where a man will let this demand for self-enjoyment take him.

Nietzsche F. (1878) Human All Too Human, pp.74,75 #107

Truth is the world spirit

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

For Hegel, Napoleon was not just this mere mortal man of flash and blood, and this was not just another horse ride, nor was this just another military march: this was the march of history, of the world spirit. Individual people are not isolated units but parts of a larger whole, a ‘Zeitgeist’, the spirit of the age.

Truth is not found on just one side of an opposition [Kant], but in a unity of opposites. Truth is not an abstraction. It is the very process of concretising itself, exemplify itself. Truth is a march, in motion, coming about or coming to be in space and time.

With Hegel finally truth is a thing of this world, truth is the process of becoming true and can happen anywhere.

Napoleon is not an island, he embodies the spirit of the age and is prompted by it, through us. Without us the spirit is nothing real. Without the spirit we are uninspired and have nothing to realise. so we belong together ‘concretely’.

Caputo J.D. (2013) Truth, Philosophy in Transit, p. 141, 148

Post-Truth (A Roll of the Dice)

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Kierkegaard that was inspired by Lessing’s thesis, would defer the compliment that he is a Christian in favour of saying that he is ‘trying to become’ one. Derrida would add that in trying to become a Christian, or anything else, Kierkegaard doesn’t truly know what he is trying to become.

We don’t know what we desire and that is the condition under which a more radical desire is possible, so that for Derrida we are all, Augustine and Kierkegaard and everyone else alike, afloat or adrift in the same boat, a boat whose final destination neither Hegel nor anyone else knows.

Postmoderns strongly doubt, after the genocides of the twentieth century that history is the unfolding of God’s life on earth [Hegel].
Philosophers like Heidegger and Derrida think that history is something of a roll of the dice, that nothing is guaranteed, that truth might remain for ever concealed, and things might turn out badly.

Hegel set off a torrent of anti-philosophy, in which philosophers philosophize against Hegel and the tremendous reach that philosophy had grasped for in Hegel. His successors react against him in different ways – by being more materialistic than idealistic (Marx), more interested in the existential individual than in world history (Kierkegaard), and more atheistic than panentheistic (Nietzsche). They all proposed different candidates for what is truly concrete, but they didn’t dispute that concrete is what truth is and must be.

Caputo J.D. (2013) Truth, Philosophy in Transit, p. 152,155

R.B.Perry on Poetry and Philosophy

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

§ 8. Poetry is well characterized, though not defined, as an interpretation of life. The term “life” here signifies the human purposive consciousness, and active pursuit of ends. An interpretation of life is, then, a selection and account of such values in human experience as are actually sought or are worth the seeking.

For the poet all things are good or bad, and never only matters of fact. He is neither an annalist nor a statistician, and is even an observer only for the sake of a higher design. He is one who appreciates, and expresses his appreciation so fittingly that it becomes a kind of truth, and a permanently communicable object.

The sensuous or suggestive values of nature are caught by the poet’s quick feeling for beauty, and fixed by his creative activity. Or with his ready sympathy he may perceive the value of some human ideal or mastering passion, and make it a reality for our common feeling.

Where the poet has to do with the base and hateful, his attitude is still appreciative. The evil is apprehended as part of a dramatic whole having positive moral or æsthetic value.

Moral ideas may appear in both poetry and life as the inspiration and justification of struggle. Where there is no conception of its moral significance, the repulsive possesses for the poet’s consciousness the æsthetic value of diversity and contrast.

Even where the evil and ugly is isolated, as in certain of Browning’s dramatic monologues, it forms, both for the poet and the reader, but a part of some larger perception of life or character, which is sublime or beautiful or good.

Poetry involves, then, the discovery and presentation of human experiences that are satisfying and appealing. It is a language for human pleasures and ideals.

Starting from this most general truth respecting poetry, we may now look for that aspect of it whereby it may be a witness of philosophical truth (….)

R. B. Perry, The Approach to Philosophy (2008)
Poetry and Philosophy p.25, 27