Written in the form of a Socratic dialogue, The Republic is an investigation into the nature of an ideal society. In this far-reaching and profoundly influential treatise, Plato explores the concept of justice, the connection between politics and psychology, the difference between words and what they represent, and the roles of art and education, among many other topics. A towering achievement of philosophical insight, The Republic is as relevant to readers today as it was to the citizens of ancient Athens.
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Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy. The book contains some of Nietzsche's most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.
Most of the book was written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil. We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche's most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published.
Walter Kaufmann's English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time. He is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche's major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche.
Now, Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers, and each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-drive design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped the world.
The Stoic writings of the philosopher Seneca, who lived from c. 5 BC to AD 65, offer powerful insights into the art of living, the importance of reason and morality, and continue to provide profound guidance to many through their eloquence, lucidity and timeless wisdom. This selection of Seneca's orks was taken from the Penguin Classics edition of Dialogues and Letters, translated by C.D.N. Costa, and includes the essays On the Shortness of Life, Consolation to Helvia, and On Tranquility of Mind.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Out of the Flames tracks the history of The Chrisitianismi Restituto, examining Michael Servetus's life and times and the politics of the first information during the sixteenth century. The Chrisitianismi Restituto, a heretical work of biblical scholarship, written in 1553, aimed to refute the orthodox Christianity that Michael Servetus' old colleague, John Calvin, supported. After the book spread through the ranks of Protestant hierarchy, Servetus was tried and agonizingly burned at the stake, the last known copy of the Restitutio chained to his leg.
Servetus's execution marked a turning point in the quest for freedom of expression, due largely to the development of the printing press and the proliferation of books in Renaissance Europe. Three copies of the Restitutio managed to survive the burning, despite every effort on the part of his enemies to destroy them. As a result, the book became almost a surrogate for its author, going into hiding and relying on covert distribution until it could be read freely, centuries later.
Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone follow the clandestine journey of the three copies through the subsequent centuries and explore its author's legacy and influence over the thinkers that shared his spirit and genius, such as Leibniz, Voltaire, Rousseau, Jefferson, Clarence Dorrow, and William Osler.
One of the most controversial figures on the intellectual scene, Ayn Rand was the proponent of a moral philosophy—and ethic of rational self-interest—that stands in sharp opposition to the ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. The fundamentals of this morality—"a philosophy for living on Earth"—are here vibrantly set forth by the spokesman for a new class, For the New Intellectual.
From the Paperback edition.
For the legions of readers who treasure Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and who savor cogent analysis and provocative discussion of Ayn Rand's thoughts and beliefs, Understanding Objectivism takes the stimulating study of Rand's philosophy to the next level.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
John Russon's Human Experience draws on central concepts of contemporary European philosophy to develop a novel analysis of the human psyche. Beginning with a study of the nature of perception, embodiment, and memory, Russon investigates the formation of personality through family and social experience. He focuses on the importance of the feedback we receive from others regarding our fundamental worth as persons, and on the way this interpersonal process embeds meaning into our most basic bodily practices: eating, sleeping, sex, and so on. Russon concludes with an original interpretation of neurosis as the habits of bodily practice developed in family interactions that have become the foundation for developed interpersonal life, and proposes a theory of psychological therapy as the development of philosophical insight that responds to these neurotic compulsions.
This book will provide readers with all the help they will need to find their own way in Sartre’s works. Author David Detmer provides a clear, accurate, and accessible guide to Sartre’s work, introducing readers to all of his major theories, explaining the ways in which the different strands of his thought are interrelated, and offering an overview of several of his most important works.
Sartre was an extraordinarily versatile and prolific writer. His gigantic corpus includes novels, plays, screenplays, short stories, essays on art, literature, and politics, an autobiography, several biographies of other writers, and two long, dense, complicated, systematic works of philosophy (Being and Nothingness and Critique of Dialectical Reason). His treatment of philosophical issues is spread out over a body of writing that many find highly intimidating because of its size, diversity, and complexity.
A distinctive feature of this book is that it is comprehensive. The vast majority of books on Sartre, including those that are billed as introductions to his work, are highly selective in their coverage. For example, many of them deal only with his early writings and neglect the massive and difficult Critique of Dialectical Reason, or they address only his philosophical work and ignore his novels and plays (or vice versa). The present book, by contrast, discusses works in all of Sartre’s literary genres and from all phases of his career.
An introductory chapter provides an overview of Sartre’s life and work. The next chapter analyzes several of Sartre’s earliest philosophical writings. Each of the next six chapters is devoted to an in-depth examination of a single key book. Two of these chapters are devoted to philosophical works, two to plays, one to a biography, and one to a novel. These chapters also contain some discussion of other writings insofar as these are relevant to the topics under consideration there. A final chapter considers important concepts and theories that are not found in the major works discussed in earlier chapters, briefly introduces other important works of Sartre’s, and offers some final thoughts. The book concludes with a short annotated bibliography with suggestions for further reading.
Central to all of Sartre’s writing was his attempt to describe the salient features of human existence: freedom, responsibility, the emotions, relations with others, work, embodiment, perception, imagination, death, and so forth. In this way he attempted to bring clarity and rigor to the murky realm of the subjective, limiting his focus neither to the purely intellectual side of life (the world of reasoning, or, more broadly, of thinking), nor to those objective features of human life that permit of study from the “outside.” Instead, he broadened his focus so as to include the meaning of all facets of human existence. Thus, his work addressed, in a fundamental way, and primarily from the “inside” (where Sartre’s skills as a novelist and dramatist served him well) the question of how an individual is related to everything that comprises his or her situation: the physical world, other individuals, complex social collectives, and the cultural world of artifacts and institutions.
am walking alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts
are sometimes preoccupied elsewhere, the rest of the time I
bring them back to the walk, to the orchard, to the sweetness
of this solitude, and to me.”
In the year 1570, at the age of thirty-seven, Michel de Montaigne gave up his job as a magistrate and retired to his château to brood on his own private grief—the deaths of his best friend, his father, his brother, and his firstborn child. On the ceiling of his library he inscribed a phrase from the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius: “There is no new pleasure to be gained by living longer.”
But finding his mind agitated rather than settled by this idleness, Montaigne began to write, giving birth to the Essays—short prose explorations of an amazingly wide range of subjects. And gradually, over the course of his writing, Montaigne rejected his stoical pessimism and turned from a philosophy of death to a philosophy of life. He erased Lucretius’s melancholy fatalism and began to embrace the exuberant vitality of living, finding an antidote to death in the most unlikely places—the touch of a hand, the smell of his doublet, the playfulness of his cat, and the flavor of his wine.
Saul Frampton offers a celebration of perhaps the most enjoyable and yet profound of all Renaissance writers, whose essays went on to have a huge impact on figures as diverse as Shakespeare, Emerson, and Orson Welles, and whose thoughts, even today, offer a guide and unprecedented insight into the simple matter of being alive.
From the Hardcover edition.
The father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a philosopher who could write like an angel. With only a sentence or two, he could plumb the depths of the human spirit. In this collection of some 800 quotations, the reader will find dazzling bon mots next to words of life-changing power. Drawing from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard's writings, this book presents a broad selection of his wit and wisdom, as well as a stimulating introduction to his life and work.
Organized by topic, this volume covers notable Kierkegaardian concerns such as anxiety, despair, existence, irony, and the absurd, but also erotic love, the press, busyness, and the comic. Here readers will encounter both well-known quotations ("Life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other principle, that it must be lived forward") and obscure ones ("Beware false prophets who come to you in wolves' clothing but inwardly are sheep--i.e., the phrasemongers"). Those who spend time in these pages will discover the writer who said, "my grief is my castle," but who also taught that "the best defense against hypocrisy is love."
Illuminating and delightful, this engaging book also provides a substantial portrait of one of the most influential of modern thinkers.Gathers some 800 quotations Drawn from the authoritative Princeton editions of Kierkegaard's writings Includes an introduction, a brief account and timeline of Kierkegaard's life, a guide to further reading, and an index
This inspiring new book from the bestselling author of Little Big Minds reveals how the heartbeats of philosophy- clear thinking, quiet reflection, and good conversation- are essential ingredients in a well-lived life. Full of great discussion ideas and activities you can do with a group, How Philosophy Can Save Your Life is framed around ten "big ideas"-themes that, according to McCarty, are necessary to grasp if one wants to live a truly fulfilling life. They are:
1. Simplicity (philosophers include Epicurus and Charlotte Joko Beck)
2. Communication (philosophers include bell hooks and Karl Jaspers)
3. Perspective (philosophers include Bertrand Russell and Mary Wollstonecraft)
4. Flexibility (philosophers include Socrates, Plato and Alan Watts)
5. Empathy (philosophers include the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, Jr.)
6. Individuality (philosophers include Jean-Paul Sartre and Elizabeth Spelman)
7. Belonging (philosophers include Albert Camus and Rita Manning)
8. Serenity (philosophers include Epictetus and Lao Tzu)
9. Possibility (philosophers include John Stuart Mill and Simone de Beauvoir)
10. Joy (philosophers include Shunryu Suzuki and Jane Addams)
So join the greatest thinkers of all time to discover the ideas that will help you live a happier, healthier life!
Hayim analyzes key existential concepts of negation, temporality, choice, anguish, and bad faith, and carefully situates them in the different relations of self to the otherrelations of indifference and destruction, as well as relations of engagement and pledge. She joins the two orders of beingontology and sociology - and establishes intellectual and ethical continuity between the phenomenology of Being and Nothingness, Sartre's momentous early work and neglected sociological categories in his later works. Critique of Dialectical Reason and Notebooks for an Ethics.
Hayim makes accessible to the social scientist a rich repertoire of existential motifs and perspectives on community and group interactions and their inextricable bond to the life practice of the individual. The author contends that the massive language of a "sociology of things" instills in the human actor a feeling of helplessness and gross inferiority vis-a-vis the social world. She offers, in contrast, the existential emphasis on the importance of substituting live human experience for mechanistic processes of explanation and of establishing a language of conscious choice and responsibility in place of the massive language found in orthodox social analysis. The new introductory essay suggests the influence of Sartre on new discourses in sociological and social-psychological theory, especially with reference to our contemporary disaffection with classical notions of emancipation and other "universalized discourses," as well as in reference to current debates on "essentialism" and "self-identity." Hayim's book will interest a wide variety of readers including phenomenologists, sociologists, admirers of Sartre's theories, and students of existential social psychology.
In a memoir of family bonding and cutting-edge physics for readers of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality and Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist?, Amanda Gefter tells the story of how she conned her way into a career as a science journalist—and wound up hanging out, talking shop, and butting heads with the world’s most brilliant minds.
At a Chinese restaurant outside of Philadelphia, a father asks his fifteen-year-old daughter a deceptively simple question: “How would you define nothing?” With that, the girl who once tried to fail geometry as a conscientious objector starts reading up on general relativity and quantum mechanics, as she and her dad embark on a life-altering quest for the answers to the universe’s greatest mysteries.
Before Amanda Gefter became an accomplished science writer, she was a twenty-one-year-old magazine assistant willing to sneak her and her father, Warren, into a conference devoted to their physics hero, John Wheeler. Posing as journalists, Amanda and Warren met Wheeler, who offered them cryptic clues to the nature of reality: The universe is a self-excited circuit, he said. And, The boundary of a boundary is zero. Baffled, Amanda and Warren vowed to decode the phrases—and with them, the enigmas of existence. When we solve all that, they agreed, we’ll write a book.
Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn is that book, a memoir of the impassioned hunt that takes Amanda and her father from New York to London to Los Alamos. Along the way, they bump up against quirky science and even quirkier personalities, including Leonard Susskind, the former Bronx plumber who invented string theory; Ed Witten, the soft-spoken genius who coined the enigmatic M-theory; even Stephen Hawking.
What they discover is extraordinary: the beginnings of a monumental paradigm shift in cosmology, from a single universe we all share to a splintered reality in which each observer has her own. Reality, the Gefters learn, is radically observer-dependent, far beyond anything of which Einstein or the founders of quantum mechanics ever dreamed—with shattering consequences for our understanding of the universe’s origin. And somehow it all ties back to that conversation, to that Chinese restaurant, and to the true meaning of nothing.
Throughout their journey, Amanda struggles to make sense of her own life—as her journalism career transforms from illusion to reality, as she searches for her voice as a writer, as she steps from a universe shared with her father to at last carve out one of her own. It’s a paradigm shift you might call growing up.
By turns hilarious, moving, irreverent, and profound, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn weaves together story and science in remarkable ways. By the end, you will never look at the universe the same way again.
Praise for Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn
“Nothing quite prepared me for this book. Wow. Reading it, I alternated between depression—how could the rest of us science writers ever match this?—and exhilaration.”—Scientific American
“To Do: Read Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn. Reality doesn’t have to bite.”—New York
“A zany superposition of genres . . . It’s at once a coming-of-age chronicle and a father-daughter road trip to the far reaches of this universe and 10,500 others.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
From the Hardcover edition.
Regarded as the father of Existentialism, Kierkegaard transformed philosophy with his conviction that we must all create our own nature; in this great work of religious anxiety, he argues that a true understanding of God can only be attained by making a personal "leap of faith."
Kafka’s aphorisms are fascinating glimpses into the lure and the enigma of the form itself.
From the Hardcover edition.
In a brilliant series of essays, Bertrand Russell uses challenging skepticism and sharp humor to attack the obstacles to building a society based on reason.
Russell’s thoughts are as lively and pertinent today as when they were written. His topics range from the defects of the education system to the failure of the belief among the younger generation, from our mistaken concepts of democracy to the ever-present threat to freedom throughout the world—even in the West which prides itself so much on being free.
Beginning with an overview of Merleau-Ponty’s life and work, subsequent chapters cover fundamental aspects of Merleau-Ponty’s thought, including his philosophy of perception and intentionality; the role of the body in relation to perception; philosophy of history and culture; and his writings on art and aesthetics, particularly the work of Cezanne. A final chapter considers Merleau-Ponty’s importance today, examining his philosophy in light of recent developments in philosophy of mind and cognitive science.
Merleau-Ponty is essential reading for students of phenomenology, existentialism and Twentieth century philosophy. It is also ideal for anyone in the humanities and social sciences seeking an introduction to his work.
Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most remarkable and influential books of the nineteenth century. Like Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which had immediately preceded it, Beyond Good and Evil represents Nietzsche's attempt to sum up his philosophy—but in less flamboyant and more systematic form. The nine parts of the book are designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzsche’s thought and style: they span "The Prejudices of Philosophers," "The Free Spirit," religion, morals, scholarship, "Our Virtues," "Peoples and Fatherlands," and "What is Noble," as well as chapter of epigrams and a concluding poem.
This translation by Walter Kaufmann—the first ever to be made in English by a philosopher—has become the standard one, for accuracy and fidelity to the eccentricities and grace of style of the original. Unlike other editions, in English or German, this volume offers an inclusive index of subjects and persons referred to in the book. Professor Kaufmann, the distinguished Nietzsche scholar, has also provided a running footnote commentary on the text.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Socrates' Way, you meet Socrates face-to-face, hear his voice, and learn how he changes people's lives. The book provides step-by-step guidance on how to harness his methods to vastly enhance your own creativity and autonomy.Specifically, Socrates shares the seven keys to using one's mind to the utmost:
Grow with friends
Ask great questions
Strengthen your soul
Free your mind
You will master the famed "Socratic Method" for getting to the root of any problem; launch one of Socrates' exhilarating "Dialogues" among your colleagues at work, as well as at home; and sharpen and enliven your thinking. In short, you will discover the Socratic spirit in you.
Emphasizing the multidisciplinary and global nature of existential arguments, chosen texts relate to philosophy, religion, literature, theater, and culture and reflect European, Russian, Latin American, African, and American strains of thought. Readings are grouped into three thematic categories: national contexts, existentialism and religion, and transcultural migrations, which explores the reception of existentialism. The volume explains how literary giants such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy were incorporated into the existentialist fold and how inclusion into the canon recast the work of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and it describes the role Jaspers and Heidegger in Germany and the Paris School of existentialism in France played in this process. Essays address not only frequently assigned works but also underappreciated discoveries, underscoring their vital relevance to contemporary critical debate. Designed to speak to a new generation’s concerns, this collection utilizes a diverse range of voices to interrogate the fundamental questions of the human condition.
Illustrations throughout — at once lighthearted and gritty — help readers explore and understand a style of thinking that, while pervasive in its influence, is often seen as obscure, difficult, cryptic and dark. Existentialism For Beginners draws the movement’s many diverse elements together to provide an accessible introduction for those who seek a better understanding of the topic, and an enjoyable historical review packed with timeless quotes from existentialism’s leading lights.
Critical of 19th-century America’s booming commercialism and industrialism, Henry David Thoreau moved to a small cabin in the woods of Concord, Massachusetts in 1845. Walden, the account of his stay near Walden Pond, conveys at once a naturalist’s wonder at the commonplace and a transcendentalist’s yearning for spiritual truth and self-reliance. But Thoreau's embrace of solitude and simplicity did not entail a withdrawal from social and political matters. Civil Disobedience, also included in this volume, expresses his antislavery and antiwar sentiments, and has influenced resistance movements worldwide. Both give rewarding insight into a free-minded, principled and idiosyncratic life.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,800 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Through his fiction, essays, poems, and art, Kahlil Gibran inspired a devoted international following and transformed modern Arabic literature. In this book, Joseph P. Ghougassian brings together the philosophical elements present across Gibran’s diverse writings, including his bestselling work The Prophet, as well as other significant works such as The Broken Wings, which tells the story of doomed young lovers, and the collection of aphorisms in Sand and Foam. Excerpts from Gibran’s letters provide a window into his mind, heart, and soul, creating a biography of this groundbreaking, mystical writer unlike any other. This systematic collection introduces Gibran as a “people’s philosopher,” who used simple, straightforward language to reveal a worldview of rich, deep meaning.
But as Russell Shorto shows in this deeply engaging book, Descartes' bones also played a role in some of the most momentous episodes in history, which are also part of the philosopher's metaphorical remains: the birth of science, the rise of democracy, and the earliest debates between reason and faith. Descartes' Bones is a flesh-and-blood story about the battle between religion and rationalism that rages to this day.
A New York Times Notable Book
'He believes in the cadence, the comma, the bite of word on reality, whatever else he believes; and his devotion to them, he makes clear, is a sufficient focus for the reader's attention. In the modern history of literature he is a unique moral figure, not a dreamer of rose-gardens but a cultivator of what will grow in the waste land, who can make us see the exhilarating design that thorns and yucca share with whatever will grow anywhere.' - Hugh Kenner
Contents: Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Happy Days, All That Fall, Acts Without Words, Krapp's Last Tape, Roughs for the Theatre, Embers, Roughs for the Radio, Words and Music, Cascando, Play, Film, The Old Tune, Come and Go, Eh Joe, Breath, Not I, That Time, Footfalls, Ghost Trio,...but the clouds..., A Piece of Monologue, Rockaby, Ohio Impromptu, Quad, Catastrophe, Nacht und Traume, What Where.
The Philosophy of Existentialism collects representative essays on Jean-Paul Sartre’s pioneering subject: existentialism. Beginning with a thoughtful introduction by fellow French philosopher Jean Wahl, this worklooks at existentialism through several lenses, exploring topics such as the emotions, imagination, nothingness, freedom, responsibility, and the desire to be God. By providing exposition on a variety of subjects, The Philosophy of Existentialism is a valuable introduction to Sartre’s ideas.
Translated from the French by Anthony Bower.
Matters of marriage, the ethical versus the aesthetic, dread, and, increasingly, the severities of Christianity are pondered by Kierkegaard in this intense work.
Walter Lowrie's magnificent translation of these seminal works continues to provide an ideal introduction to Kierkegaard. And, as Gordon Marino argues in a new introduction, these books are as relevant as ever in today's age of anxiety.
Irrational Man begins by discussing the roots of existentialism in the art and thinking of Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Baudelaire, Blake, Dostoevski, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Picasso, Joyce, and Beckett. The heart of the book explains the views of the foremost existentialists—Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Sartre. The result is a marvelously lucid definition of existentialism and a brilliant interpretation of its impact.
The late antique world possessed no voice like that of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE). His private meditations on what constitutes a good life have withstood the centuries and reach us today with the same penetrating clarity and shining light as the words of Shakespeare, Emerson, or Thoreau.
In this remarkable new translation, bestselling religious philosopher Jacob Needleman and classics scholar John P. Piazza have retained the depth of Marcus's perspective on life. They have carefully selected and faithfully rendered those passages that clarify Marcus's role as someone who stood within the great religious and ethical traditions that extend throughout every culture in human history. The voice that emerges from their translation is a universal one, equally recognizable to students of Christ, Buddha, the Vedas, the Talmud, and to anyone who sincerely searches for a way of meaning in contemporary life.
To this fine end, then, we are to laud and applaud all Nectar contributors towards this singular principle, writers and spiritual leaders from both different walks of life, and from various traditions as well. They are fine examples of the potential of a people united in a world of beings and societies who only grant lip-service to such high-minded causes, but seldom follow through in action and in realization. As Swami Vivekananda has pleaded, “When will man finally be friend to man?”
Matters of marriage, the ethical versus the aesthetic, dread, and, increasingly, the severities of Christianity are pondered by Kierkegaard in this intense work.
On October 16, 1957, Albert Camus was dining in a small restaurant on Paris's Left Bank when a waiter approached him with news: the radio had just announced that Camus had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Camus insisted that a mistake had been made and that others were far more deserving of the honor than he. Yet Camus was already recognized around the world as the voice of a generation-a status he had achieved with dizzying speed. He published his first novel, The Stranger, in 1942 and emerged from the war as the spokesperson for the Resistance and, although he consistently rejected the label, for existentialism. Subsequent works of fiction (including the novels The Plague and The Fall), philosophy (notably, The Myth of Sisyphus and The Rebel), drama, and social criticism secured his literary and intellectual reputation. And then on January 4, 1960, three years after accepting the Nobel Prize, he was killed in a car accident.
In a book distinguished by clarity and passion, Robert Zaretsky considers why Albert Camus mattered in his own lifetime and continues to matter today, focusing on key moments that shaped Camus's development as a writer, a public intellectual, and a man. Each chapter is devoted to a specific event: Camus's visit to Kabylia in 1939 to report on the conditions of the local Berber tribes; his decision in 1945 to sign a petition to commute the death sentence of collaborationist writer Robert Brasillach; his famous quarrel with Jean-Paul Sartre in 1952 over the nature of communism; and his silence about the war in Algeria in 1956. Both engaged and engaging, Albert Camus: Elements of a Life is a searching companion to a profoundly moral and lucid writer whose works provide a guide for those perplexed by the absurdity of the human condition and the world's resistance to meaning.
With vast erudition, Foucault cuts across disciplines and reaches back into seventeenth century to show how classical systems of knowledge, which linked all of nature within a great chain of being and analogies between the stars in the heavens and the features in a human face, gave way to the modern sciences of biology, philology, and political economy. The result is nothing less than an archaeology of the sciences that unearths old patterns of meaning and reveals the shocking arbitrariness of our received truths.
Spinoza is today considered the Philosopher of Modern Times, as Aristotle was the Philosopher of Antiquity. In spite of which, he remains the best known and least read of the great thinkers.
The Book of God, one of his earliest works, came to light only a hundred years ago in two slightly varying Dutch manuscripts. Its youthful author lived in turbulent times, when the Western world was torn by civil and religious strife, and bullies, bigots and pseudo-prophets vied for the ear of a fearful people. While Europe was in an uproar over the right church, Spinoza was seeking the right God. This book is the first known report of his findings. Appearing like a draft for his later Ethics, it is a Guide for the Bewildered. Those who see in philosophy no more than an intellectual exercise will have no difficulty dismissing it. But those imbued with the longing for a better and freer life will find here a most rewarding fountain of faith.