Sloterdijk: You Must Change Your Life

UPDATE: Not enough Sloterdijk for you, go here.

A new book from Sloterdijk just came out, it’s called Du musst dein Leben ändern, quite a title. Apparently the title comes from Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo. Here’s a short review (with a rough translation) from Deutsche Welt: Continue reading

Doctor Shot At A Church (Updated)

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan has a nice collection of link here

George Tiller, a doctor and abortion rights activist was shot at his church in Wichita Kansan  this morning

WICHITA – George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.
Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB.

I thought we were done with that sort of things in the 1990s. We should probably thanks hysterical right-wing radio/TV hosts for exciting the crazies and making them think it’s the end of the world or something. I’m sure they’ll do anything for the ratings, right? 

Still, shot in a church? Do they have any standards at all? Outrageous!

Not Being God: Gianni Vattimo’s Autobiography

Coming out this June, some excerpts are published here

Gianni Vattimo, a leading philosopher of the continental school, has always resisted autobiography. But in this intimate memoir, the voice of Vattimo as thinker, political activist, and human being finds its expression on the page. With Piergiorgio Paterlini, a noted Italian writer and journalist, Vattimo reflects on a lifetime of politics, sexual radicalism, and philosophical exuberance in postwar Italy. Turin, the city where he was born and one of the intellectual capitals of Europe (also the city in which Nietzsche went mad), forms the core of his reminiscences, enhanced by fascinating vignettes of studying under Hans Georg Gadamer, teaching in the United States, serving as a public intellectual and interlocutor of Habermas and Derrida, and working within the European Parliament to unite Europe.

Vattimo’s status as a left-wing faculty president paradoxically made him a target of the Red Brigades in the 1970s, causing him to flee Turin for his life. Left-wing terrorism did not deter the philosopher from his quest for social progress, however, and in the 1980s, he introduced a daring formulation called “weak thought,” which stripped metaphysics, science, religion, and all other absolute systems of their authority. Vattimo then became notorious both for his renewed commitment to the core values of Christianity (he was trained as a Catholic intellectual) and for the Vatican’s denunciation of his views. 

Paterlini weaves his interviews with Vattimo into an utterly candid first-person portrait, creating a riveting text that is destined to become one of the most compelling accounts of homosexuality, history, politics, and philosophical invention in the twentieth century.

Rousseau vs. Hume: Hilarity In Action.

UPDATE: The book mentioned below is now available as a torrent on The Pirate Bay.

I believe this is my very favorite philosophical beef of all time, if you haven’t had a chance to read wonderfully entertaining and accessible Rousseau’s Dog you must do it this summer or die.  This story has so many cool twists and turns and almost none of them are philosophical. There’s a new book on the subject – The Philosophers’ Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding – and I am hoping to read it very soon: Continue reading


Jon Cogburn has a nice short post on Graham Priest here.

New realists have got to have an honest confrontation with the Kantian problems of totality, and Priest’s characterization of such problems in terms of varieties of Russell’s Paradox is an essential step forward. Russellian paradoxical proofs have two moments: one of Transcendence where a set A is provably not a member of some set B, and one of Closure where A is provably a member of B (with Russell’s paradox A and B are the same set; the problem concerns whether the set of all sets that are not members of themselves is itself a member of itself). This provides a rigorous model of precisely what always goes wrong with transcendental idealism, limiting what can be said or known (Closure) and having to surpass those limits (Transcendence) in order to state or think the initial limitation. Continue reading

Midrash, Quotation, Levinas: Some More Thoughts

Ok, dusting off my Levinas books!  In a comment to a post on some thoughts her talk about the Midrashic impulse triggered for me, Monica writes:

His [Levinas] writing–at least in my reading–imitates precisely the style used by Talmudists and the rabbis and sages who created classical Midrash. There is always that moment in the text that flips the text itself upside-down and forces a re-reading from that particular point in the text. Sometimes these moments are so subtle that we miss them, which I think in some way leads us back to the question of responsibility even on the part of the reader (?). This is, again, I think, what brings us to the ethical, at least in regard to the way I’m using it in my work to describe the midrashic impulse. The ethical is about that (diachronic?) moment of rupture in the text, and the way it compels us to respond to it.

This is an interesting (and accurate in my view) comment.  Talmudic study, according to Levinas, is an awakening of language to what perpetually exceeds its reach, drawing reading and writing into a mode of infinition, of constitutive incompletion. The translation of Talmudic study into practice starts with the assumption that there is nothing that cannot be expressed in a community defined by its willingness to communicate and disagree, except the name of God. Continue reading