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Matches: A Light Book

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ISBN: 9781950192212 9781950192229 Year: Pages: 560 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0251.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-04-12 11:21:02
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Through the prism of criticism, the modalities of thinking form a spectrum: on one end, systematic exposition, on the other, the fragment. It is the latter, fragmentary approach that distinguishes Matches—an investigation that does not focus on a single theme developed in all its aspects but, rather, on a constellation of themes in art, literature, philosophy, science, social and political thought, as well as the human in relation to history and nature. The author pursues here in performative fashion her research into the history of critique from the Enlightenment onward. Her choice of the fragment—in the tradition of writing represented by Gracián, Chamfort, Lichtenberg, and, closer to us, Nietzsche, Adorno, and Benjamin—does not, however, stem from an attempt to comprehend the contemporary world, which can only be done after the fact. Instead, served by an expressive and incisive style, Matches foregrounds the necessary elements for a critique of our time, capturing them in their contradictory and complementary relations. It situates itself under the sign of the future, reviving the spirit of utopia, reminding us that the last word need not belong to the present.

Keywords

aphorisms --- epigrams --- maxims --- meditations --- sketches

An Unspecific Dog: Artifacts of This Late Stage in History

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ISBN: 9780998531816 Year: Pages: 172 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0163.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:34
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A nationwide survey conducted by an institute for philosophical research has determined that nihilists, on the whole, have good intentions. In An Unspecific Dog, Joshua Rothes collects 150 short texts as fables for our time, a veritable catalog of agnotology, a series of situations and propositions that revel in the dark irony at the root of our early-twenty-first-century existence. A man reads the terms and conditions and finds that he has no secrets, while scientists promise that, “with improvements to fMRI technology, what matters to us will become more clear.” The subjects of these texts are caught between vocabularies, between contingency and certainty, the interim in which certain kind of ironic vitality exists, where tragedy and humor are equally likely and often deeply entangled. Rothes reminds us that language acts as a mirror for human experience, in that through it we can never really see the backs of our own heads.

Keywords

anecdotes --- humor --- aphorisms --- fables --- agnotology

Reading Vincent van Gogh: a Thematic Guide to the Letters

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ISBN: 9781771991872 9781771991889 9781771991896 Year: Pages: 198 DOI: 10.15215/aupress/9781771991872.01 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Subject: Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2017-03-06 23:15:47
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Soon after his death, Vincent van Gogh’s reputation grew and developed through the remarkably symbiotic relationship evident between his paintings and letters. However, the sheer bulk and complexity of Van Gogh’s complete surviving correspondence presents a formidable challenge to those who wish to read and analyze the whole text as a literary work.Reading Vincent van Gogh is at once an interpretive guide to Van Gogh’s letters and a distillation of the key themes that reoccur throughout his collected letters—foremost among them the motifs of suffering, love, imagination, and the ineffable. In this indispensable, synoptic view of the letters, Patrick Grant makes the main lines of Vincent van Gogh’s thinking accessible and displays the arresting vividness of the well-known artist’s writing.

Solar Calendar, And Other Ways of Marking Time

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ISBN: 9780998531830 Year: Pages: 348 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0165.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:34
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At the end of his life, Pierre Hadot was a professor at the Collège de France — a “professor’s professor” — and he helped Michel Foucault, most famously, conceptualize ethics. Hadot devoted his career to recovering the ancient conception of philosophy, according to which the discourses of universities are but a fragment of what philosophy is. His engagement with this theme helped Bendik-Keymer understand and develop a personal counter-culture to his academic work, a kind of original academics truer to the idea of the philosophical school Plato first developed in his Ἀκαδήµεια. But while Plato’s school developed a useful form of life, it had an ambivalent relation to democracy and to everyday people. Whereas Plato was in some ways one of the first egalitarians by merit (especially concerning women), he was also deeply classist in his categorization of intellectual potentials. He effectively thought some people were stupid by nature, having no philosophical worth. Hence the Ἀκαδήµεια existed outside the city, in practice exclusive and somewhat sequestered. To some extent, Plato’s vision of philosophy — at least as explained by Hadot — had the practical point of philosophy right, but this point still needed to be rendered thoroughly democratic in the polyphony and multiple intelligences of people. Doing so coheres with what Foucault was after in his application of Hadot. It is also what Bendik-Keymer is after — to extract what is good from original academics and make it democratic, as opposed to dumbing people down.

Keywords

philosophy --- ethics --- ecology --- memoir --- poetry --- aphorisms

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