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Tag: philosophy

Robert Brandom – Why even write (philosophy)?

“That old philosopher Fred Allen used to say he could not understand why someone would spend years writing a novel, when for a few dollars you could buy one practically anywhere. A similar remark might be made about contributions to that peculiar genre of creative nonfiction writing to which philosophical works such as this one belong. This book is an investigation into the nature of language: of the social practices that distinguish us as rational, indeed logical, concept-mongering creatures – knowers and agents. This is of course a topic that has been much explored by philosophers, both the mighty dead and the ablest contemporary thinkers. Surrounded as we are by the riches they have bequeathed, it is hard to avoid asking why one should bother reading – let alone writing – yet another such work. This question may seem all the more urgent inasmuch as it is acknowledged (indeed, some pains are taken to show) that the basic building blocks out of which this account is constructed – its motivating insights, commitments, and strategies – are not novel or original.”

Robert B. Brandom – Making it Explicit. Reasoning, Representing & Discursive Commitment.


Adorno on the Impossibility of Representing Nature or Industry in Art

“That today any walk in the woods, unless elaborate plans have been made to seek out the most remote forests, is accompanied by the sound of jet engines overheard not only destroys the actuality of nature as, for instance, an object of poetic celebration. It affects the mimetic impulse. Nature poetry is anachronistic not only as a subject: Its truth content has vanished. This may help clarify the anorganic aspect of Beckett’s as well as of Celan’s poetry. It yearns neither for nature nor for industry; it is precisely the integration of the latter that leads to poetization, which was already a dimension of impressionism, and contributes its part to making peace with an unpeaceful world. Art, as an anticipatory form of reaction, is no longer able – if it ever was – to embody pristine nature or the industry that has scorched it; the impossibility of both is probably the hidden law of aesthetic nonrepresentationalism.”


Theodor W. Adorno – Aesthetic Theory (Transl. Robert Hullot-Kentor)

Nietzsche on Homelessness

We who are homeless.– Among Europeans today there is no lack of those who are entitled to call themselves homeless in a distinctive and honorable sense: it is to them that I especially commend my secret wisdom and gaya scienza. For their fate is hard, their hopes are uncertain; it is quite a feat to devise some comfort for them – but what avail? We children of the future, how could we be at home in this today? We feel disfavor for all ideals that might lead one to feel at home even in this fragile, broken time of transition; as for its “realities,” we do not believe that they will last. The ice that still supports people today has become very thin; the wind that brings the thaw is blowing; we ourselves who are homeless constitute a force that breaks open ice and other all too thin “realities.”
Is it not clear that with all this we are bound to feel ill at ease in an age that likes to claim the distinction of being the most humane, the mildest, and the most righteous age that the sun has ever seen?”


Friedrich Nietzsche – The Gay Science, Book Five, §377 (Transl. Walter Kaufmann)