More specifically concerning: philosophy
16 September 2002, around 13.35.
Socrates was married, you know, and his wife, Xanthippe, was a shrew. Perhaps that’s why he liked to sit in the cobbler’s shop and talk with young aristocrats about the meaning of words. ‘The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything.’ How many a man has said that, in the course of […]
Epicurus, ratae sententiae xxvii
11 February 2003, around 9.24.
Ὧν ἡ σοφία παρασκευάζεται εἰς τὴν τοῦ ὅλου βίου μακαριότητα πολὺ μέγιστόν ἐστιν ἡ τῆς φιλίας κτῆσις. Of the things wisdom furnishes for bliss1 throughout life, by far the greatest is the possession of friendship. The ancient Greek adjective makarios, which appears as a superlative in this text, is difficult to translate into English. It […]
16 August 2003, around 2.08.
the cunning Manager.
4 December 2003, around 10.05.
One of the strangest footnotes I have ever written: On the knee as a seat of power, see Deonna (1939); on the knee as a gathering place for seminal fluids, see Onians (1951): p. 173–86. This lends credence to the theory that one channels the powers beyond when writing, because really, I don’t think I […]
fragment from the shower
17 January 2006, around 11.28.
16 July 2006, around 21.44.
After about two hours of reading or discussion, we would go for a walk and then have tea at Lyons, or in the restaurant above the Regal cinema. Sometimes he came to my house in Searle street for supper. Once after supper, Wittgenstein, my wife and I went for a walk on Midsummer Common. We […]
on biography (3)
8 February 2013, around 0.02.
After reading Didier Eribon’s biography of Foucault, I turned with some relief to Karl Popper’s memoir Unended Quest. The biography of Foucault was maddening because it did what good biographies should do, and didn’t speculate, especially where speculation was warranted. Popper, meanwhile, positively disinvites speculation. There’s nothing to speculate about; he grinds through ideas with […]
the arrow of time
27 April 2013, around 17.53.
An enlightened voyage: ‘The Vessel of the Constitution steered clear of the Rock of Democracy, and the Whirlpool of Arbitrary Power’ From antiquity to fascism, Homer has been criticised for garrulousness – both in the hero and in the narrator. —Theodor Adorno (Dialectic of Englightenment: ‘Excursus 1: Odysseus or Myth and Enlightenment’, p. 53) Nestor, […]
11 December 2014, around 8.32.
Notes on Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour: Wittgenstein muddles his thinking about color – visualizing rather than looking: the dullness of phenomenology. The removal of colors from context, which changes the ‘meaning’ – what is at once ‘reddish green’ might, in other settings, be called ‘brown’. ‘I took a green painted lead cupola to be translucent greenish […]
15 December 2014, around 9.25.
Although he never lose his heart exclusively to one philosophical sect and was also an eclectic, Horace’s sharply critical mind, with a subtle sense of humor on the surface and a tempered pessimism deeper down, was far more inclined towards the doctrines of Aristippus, Epicurus and Lucretius than towards the Stoa which he often mentions […]
18 January 2015, around 6.52.
of fictitious and real entities in motion and at rest
17 April 2015, around 21.29.
I live from day to day, and am content with having sufficient for present and ordinary needs; for the extraordinary all the provision in the world will not suffice. And it is madness to expect that Fortune could ever sufficiently arm us against herself. With our own arms must we fight her. —Montaigne (Essays, ‘That […]
29 May 2015, around 9.23.
‘Philosophy’ (1707) by Sébastien Leclerc (1637-1714) via Giornale Nuovo The other day somebody, turning over my tablets, found a memorandum of something I wished to be done after my death. I told him, what was true, that being but a league’s distance from my house, and healthy and robust, I had hastened to write it […]
9 October 2015, around 5.33.
anachronism ‘Thales Milesius’ by Jacques de Gheyn (1616) A man must give to thriving husbandrie, to laborious study, to toilesome hunting, and to every other exercise, the utmost bounds of pleasure; and beware he engage himselfe no further, if once paine begin to intermeddle it selfe with her; we should reserve businesse and negotiations only […]
6 January 2016, around 5.02.
Sunshine, from The Illustrated London News (1865) Peter Toohey’s Boredom: A Lively History is a competent bit of work, hitting the key surface points of the topic, from Aristotle to Heidegger, with an obligatory early twenty-first-century excursus on neuroscience. It is, as the acknowledgements give away, a commissioned book – an editor’s idea of something […]
29 March 2016, around 11.30.
It cost too much, to begin with. I really had no excuse for buying it, except that I was feeling out of sorts and aphoristic philosophy seemed like a good choice at the time; it seemed to be a clean copy, too, which would go a little way to excusing the price. At home, however, […]
18 June 2016, around 6.31.
on the best society…
3 January 2018, around 5.53.
29 September 2020, around 5.00.
on dogs, walking, running, Mongolia and nature.
a singular philosophy
13 November 2020, around 7.00.
The view from the ridge, circa late summer 2017. The path that I like to walk (and have for some years) is the beginning of a nine-mile trail that goes up to a Forest Service lookout (which I have not yet reached, and probably never will, by that route). The trail climbs a series of […]
26 January 2021, around 5.31.
These are some of the latest things I haven’t read, with the excuses I made for abandoning them. Penguin classics edition of Epicurus. I had hoped for updated notes and bibliography, something that I could point students (should I ever get another course as adjunct) towards, but it was a reprint of a book published […]
10 February 2021, around 5.08.
There is a passage in the third chapter of Toril Moi’s Revolution of the Ordinary: Literary Studies after Wittgeinstein, Austin, and Cavell that drew my eye: In many cases, then it is useless to spend time and energy trying to produce a sharp concept. To avoid meaningless work, we need to understand the situation we […]
20 February 2021, around 7.40.
‘And it is not worth the trouble of thinking of philosophy; all the more horoscopes! – more than spider-webs in a ruined castle.’ —Hamann, Aesthetica in nuce (trans. Kenneth Haynes)
fits and starts
1 March 2021, around 8.35.
This a juxtaposition of three quotations about clothes, from Boswell, Hamann, and Thomas Carlyle.
3 March 2021, around 5.07.
What on earth does this Socrates of yours mean?
stalking horses and other specters
2 April 2021, around 5.31.
Paul Nash, Stalking Horse (black and white negative, 1941), presented by the Paul Nash Trust to the Tate in 1970 CC-BY-NC-ND. The experience in which we meet specters or let them come visit us remains indestructible and undeniable. The most cultivated, the most reasonable, the most nonbelieving people easily reconcile a certain spiritualism with reason. […]
13 April 2021, around 5.27.
Extract from Monet’s ‘Cliffs near Dieppe’ (1882), at the Carnegie Museum of Art — It’s a dialogue, of course. — What? — The book I was telling you about. — What book? — Paul Valéry’s Idée Fixe. — Oh? — I really liked it. It’s charming. — I thought it was a rush job for […]
24 November 2021, around 9.47.
Knowledge of values, in fact, is a matter of direct insight, like seeing that the sky is blue, the grass green. It does not consist of pieces of information that can be handed from one mind to another. In the last resort, every individual must see and judge for himself what it is good for […]
game trails and cow paths
31 August 2022, around 5.21.
Everything I set down has a source in prior song or the written record. Some poets don’t want to read first; some of us want to give the stories we know a longer life […] —Stephanie Burt (‘(frag. 612)’, After Callimachus, p. 79). Shortly after becoming acquainted with the dog, then a black puppy of […]
15 January 2023, around 4.56.
αὕτη οὖν ἀρχὴ τοῦ φιλοσοφεῖν, αἴσθησις τοῦ ἰδίου ἡγεμονικοῦ πῶς ἔχει: μετὰ γὰρ τὸ γνῶναι ὅτι ἀσθενῶς οὐκ ἔτι θελήσει χρῆσθαι αὐτῷ πρὸς τὰ μεγάλα. νῦν δὲ μὴ δυνάμενοί τινες τὸν ψωμὸν καταπίνειν σύνταξιν ἀγοράσαντες ἐπιβάλλονται ἐσθίειν. διὰ τοῦτο ἐμοῦσιν ἢ ἀπεπτοῦσιν: εἶτα στρόφοι καὶ κατάρροιαι καὶ πυρετοί. ἔδει δ᾽ ἐφιστάνειν, εἰ δύνανται. ἀλλ᾽ ἐν […]
facta est lux
19 January 2023, around 4.26.
The supreme paradox of all thought is the attempt to discover something that thought cannot think. This passion is at bottom present in all thinking, even in the thinking of the individual, in so far as in thinking he participates in something transcending himself. But habit dulls our sensibilities, and prevents us from perceiving it. […]
12 May 2023, around 4.21.
Nothingness is absolute self-deception, proton pseudos, the absolute lie in itself. He who thinks nothingness thinks precisely nothing. Nothingness is the negation of thought; it can therefore only be thought at all in so far as it is made into something. In the moment nothingness is thought of, it is also not thought of, for […]
4 June 2023, around 18.40.
Employing his broad conception of self-consciousness and his distinction between physical and moral freedom, he argues that the data of self-consciousness cannot establish moral freedom. At best, self-consciousness can reveal physical freedom, such as, after work I could go to the library, go home, go to the coffee house, or decide to flee my miserable […]