Hägglund’s Radical Atheism: To Read Or Not To Read?

UPDATE II (1/12): For those who are possibly reading this trying to decide whether to read Hägglund’s book on Derrida (as is stated in the somewhat disingenuously existential title of this post) should regard this blog post and its subsequent comments as a certain singular perspective on the issue – this comment is, of course, always already arrogant and pretentious since it assumes that someone will be making a decision regarding a book based on this post. I have since finished reading the book, therefore it was ultimately “to be”; I found it seriously lacking at certain points and somewhat insightful at others. It is not purely derridalogical in that it does propose an interesting (even if almost entirely familiar) reading, it does not engage Derrida’s ideas very much, simply creatively restates them while mainly ignoring the large body of secondary literature on the issues discussed in the book. If you are interested in the issue of “time” and “temporality” in Derrida, I think that Joanna Hodge’s excellent study Derrida on Time would be a much better choice…

UPDATE I (12/27): Just started chapter 2 and already I am discovering things: the opening paragraph and a half from this chapter on Derrida and Husserl is a word for word the same as the opening two paragraphs of Hägglund’s essay on Nabokov mentioned below that I’ve read this afternoon. No, it’s not a self-citation, it’s the same text only in New Literary History Hägglund goes on to discuss Nabokov and in Radical Atheism the transition is to Derrida – can you do that? 

Just got Martin Hägglund’s book on Derrida – Radical Atheism:  Derrida and the Time of Life – several days ago and having finished the introduction and the first chapter on Derrida and Kant, I am having doubts about whether I should continue with the book. There are several reason I read as much as I did so far: Continue reading

New Book: What Is Talmud?

Sergey Dolgopolsky has a book out – What Is Talmud? The Art of Disagreement – Shahar and I saw his speak at a conference back last year about a similar topic, I think. The book is “out of stock” on Amazon.com, so either it is so good everyone got it for Hanukah or it was published in a very small (and rare) edition. Here’s a blurb from Fordham: Continue reading

Philosophers on God.

A great and entertaining overview of the past and present discussions of the existence of God in Boston Review – a holidays special post: 

God has had a lot of bad press recently. The four horsemen of atheism, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, have all published books sharply critical of belief in God: respectively, The God DelusionBreaking the SpellThe End of Faith, and God Is Not Great. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens pile on the greatest amount of scorn, while Dennett takes the role of good cop. But despite differences of tone and detail, they all agree that belief in God is a kind of superstition. As Harris puts it, religion “is the denial—at once full of hope and full of fear—of the vastitude of human ignorance.”

Catholic Church To Accept Abortion, Homosexuality In 300-400 Years.

Following the ever-developing story of one Galileo Galilei, condemned as a heretic in 1633, one might very well conclude that it’s not that Catholic church is reactionary and backwards, it is just very very slow and meticulous: 

Galileo Galilei is going from heretic to hero.

The Vatican is recasting the most famous victim of its Inquisition as a man of faith, just in time for the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy next year.

Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to the Italian astronomer and physicist Sunday, saying he and other scientists had helped the faithful better understand and “contemplate with gratitude the Lord’s works.”

In May, several Vatican officials will participate in an international conference to re-examine the Galileo affair, and top Vatican officials are now saying Galileo should be named the “patron” of the dialogue between faith and reason.

You go, church!

Eastern APA Program Reading.

If you’re going to Eastern APA next weekend – of course, that’s the time most people tend to spend with their families or friends planning their awesome New Year Eve’s partey, check out these sessions – I think it would be cool to see what actually goes on at these meetings, so I have chosen a few of the best sounding ones here – think of these as titles for cool bands or track names: Continue reading

December of Kant: Scaring Away The Lazy.

Interesting note in Kant’s “Notes” (R 5031, 18:67) from 1776-78 (working on first Critique, out in 1781): 

I have chosen the scholastic method and preferred it to the free [crossed out: swing] motion of the spirit and wit, although, since I want every reflective mind to take part in this inquiry, I found that dryness of this method would scare away precisely readers of this sort who seek the connection with the practical. Even if I were in the greatest possession of wit and literary charm, I would still have excluded the alternative, since I am very much concerned to leave no suspicion that I would take in and persuade the reader, but rather would either allow him no access at all or expect it only through the strength of the insights.

Even this method has only arisen for me by means of experiments. Continue reading