Since his death in 1944, Rene Daumal has come to be recognized as one of the original minds of the twentieth century French letters. Poet, essayist, philosopher and translator, Sanscrit scholar and pupil of Gurdjieff, Daumal was a founder of the Grand Jeu group. He was iconoclastic and electic, able to embrace simultaneously Alfred Jarry's Pataphysics and Hindu teachings.
Daumal's two major works in English translation, Mount Analogue and A Night of Serious Drinking, have long been classics in this country; but until now, readers have not had acess to the full range of his thought. The Powers of the Word spans a lifetime of essays and notes-many here translated for the first time-from the earliest incitements to drug use and revolt; through Daumal's unique readings of literary works; to his more mature, but no less ardent, meditations.
"There are considerable portions of Ren Daumal's thinking that leave one with the sensation of watching a man climb out of sight on a steep slope.... Climbing was his vocation and his avocation, and he simply kept on going when others turned back.... In all his writing, the world of concrete objects carries its full common sense of pleasure and hardship, of beauty and blight. At the same time his philosophical turn of mind involves him in a real struggle of ideas, one usually carried on by closed minds and obscured by fuzzy words.... (His is) a startlingly clear voice in the din." --Roger Shattuck
Rene Daumal (1908-1944) was a French spiritual writer and poet. He is well-known for his posthumously published novel Mount Analogue and for being an outspoken practitioner of pataphysics.
Rousseau's ideas have influenced almost every major political development of the last two hundred years, and are crucial to an understanding of phenomena as diverse as the French Revolution, modern educational theory, and the contemporary environmental movement. This is reason enough to draw attention to his startlingly alive autobiography. But the Confessions is also among the greatest self-portraits in world literature -which suggests, even more than the impact of Rousseau's thought, the extent to which the very high opinion he had of himself was ultimately justified.
A witty illustrated introduction to Western philosophy samples the wisdom of 2,500 philosophers, offering definitions of such terms as Platonic forms and Irrationalism. By the author of Society and Sociology of Literature. Original.
A startling look at one of this century's most influential philosophers, the book chronicles every stage of Foucault's personal and professional odyssey, from his early interest in dreams to his final preoccupation with sexuality and the nature of personal identity.
In the eighteenth century, medicine underwent a mutation. For the first time, medical knowledge took on a precision that had formerly belonged only to mathematics. The body became something that could be mapped. Disease became subject to new rules of classification. And doctors begin to describe phenomena that for centuries had remained below the threshold of the visible and expressible.In The Birth of the Clinic the philosopher and intellectual historian who may be the true heir to Nietzsche charts this dramatic transformation of medical knowledge. As in his classic Madness and Civilization, Michel Foucault shows how much what we think of as pure science owes to social and cultural attitude--in this case, to the climate of the French Revolution. Brilliant, provocative, and omnivorously learned, his book sheds new light on the origins of our current notions of health and sickness, life and death.
One of the most influential works of this century, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays is a crucial exposition of existentialist thought. Influenced by works such as Don Juan and the novels of Kafka, these essays begin with a meditation on suicide; the question of living or not living in a universe devoid of order or meaning. With lyric eloquence, Albert Camus brilliantly posits a way out of despair, reaffirming the value of personal existence, and the possibility of life lived with dignity and authenticity.
It was the invention and dissemination of alphabetic literacy some twenty-six hundred years ago that produced the Enlightenment that became our philosophical tradition. Descartes consolidated in his mind-body dualism the values and images of literacy that Western intellectuals embraced. But literacy was not without price, according to William H. Poteat: in a world of printed words and discarnate readers, nihilism and cultural insanity reign.
Poteat strikes through the veil of our literate imaginations to an archaic but still active reality that antedates literacy--the intractable and substantial actuality of the lively words we speak and hear spoken. In the medium of printed words he seeks the philosophic import of our ongoing oral/aural life, which has been obscured and denigrated by the images and values we have learned as readers. By every available rhetorical strategy, therefore, this must be an anti-book. It must strive to defeat our centuries-old habituation to the book as spectacle, in order that we may be brought to dwell in the immediacies of our lively selves in the world, as we do in our oral/aural life.
A Philosophical Daybook: Post-Critical Investigations sets out to induce a radical and irreversible transformation in the way we apprehend the world and our being in it. With journal entries written over fifteen months, Poteat attempts the impossible. In a world threatened by our own false conception of our nature and our place in the world, Poteat--by a feat of philosophical archaeology--seeks, still intact within ourselves, the ground for a new philosophy of the human.
In this work the distinguished physical chemist and philosopher, Michael Polanyi, demonstrates that the scientist's personal participation in his knowledge, in both its discovery and its validation, is an indispensable part of science itself. Even in the exact sciences, "knowing" is an art, of which the skill of the knower, guided by his personal commitment and his passionate sense of increasing contact with reality, is a logically necessary part. In the biological and social sciences this becomes even more evident.The tendency to make knowledge impersonal in our culture has split fact from value, science from humanity. Polanyi wishes to substitute for the objective, impersonal ideal of scientific detachment an alternative ideal which gives attention to the personal involvement of the knower in all acts of understanding. His book should help to restore science to its rightful place in an integrated culture, as part of the whole person's continuing endeavor to make sense of the totality of his experience. In honor of this work and his The Study of Man Polanyi was presented with the Lecomte de Nouy Award for 1959.
This volume brings together the vital contributions of distinguished past and contemporary philosophers to the important topic of personal identity. The first part sets forth the attempts by John Locke, Anthony Quinton, and H. P. Grice to analyze personal identity in terms of memory. The eleven other selections are largely critical of this approach and provide alternative perspectives.Part II contains classic contributions by Joseph Butler, Thomas Reid, and Sydney S. Shoemaker, and a new paper by John Perry--"Personal Identity, Memory, and the Problem of Circularity"--in which he defends some of the central features of the Locke-Grice-Quinton approach. Part III contains three sections from David Hume's Treatise of Human Nature "Our idea of Identity," "Of Personal Identity," and an appendix which the editor has entitled "Second Thoughts." In the fourth part of the volume, Bernard Williams discusses "The Self and the Future," and Derek Parfit contributes his view of "Personal Identity." A recurring theme throughout the work is the possibility of "body transfer"--of a single person having, at different times, different bodies. In the final section of the volume ("Brian Bisection and the Unity of Consciousness"), Thomas Nagel examines the philosophical implications of recent scientific research on split-brain patients' he discusses the possibility, entertained by some researchers, that such cases involve two persons simultaneously inhabiting a single body. In his long introduction to this unique anthology on a topic of prime interest to the philosophical community, Mr. Perry scrutinizes the differing approaches and vocabularies of the various authors. The editor also includes "Suggestions for Further Reading."