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Eric Schliesser
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Good afternoon Professor Schliesser, I hope this finds you well and does not create an inconvenience for you. I am currently working on an essay on escapism within society and its justifications. Within the research process I found your blog and found your text on philosophy as escapism [here] rather... Continue reading
Posted 2 hours ago at Digressions&Impressions
The demagogue is not a romantic fellow who appears now and then, but...he appears whenever government is not effectively representative. Demagoguery is the falsification of representative government, the cultivation of the transient and apparent rather than of the considered and real will of the people...That is why the Constitutional Convention... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Digressions&Impressions
If there is any good in philosophy, it is this, – that it never looks into pedigrees. All men, if traced back to their original source, spring from the gods....[a] noble mind is free to all men; according to this test, we may all gain distinction. Philosophy neither rejects nor... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
The revolution of a gifted people which we have seen unfolding in our day may succeed or miscarry; it may be filled with misery and atrocities to the point that a right thinking human being, were he boldly to hope to execute it successfully the second time, would never resolve... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
1. Do you ask how the news reached me, and who informed me, that you were entertaining this idea, of which you had said nothing to a single soul? It was that most knowing of persons, – rumor [rumor]. "What," you say, "am I such a great personage that I... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
[T]he totalitarian rebellion of our time is not only directed against nineteenth-century liberalism and democracy. It attacks the sum total of the tradition of the Western world, its religion, its science, its law, its State, its property, its family, its morality, and its notion of the human person. But I... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Digressions&Impressions
We tend to think of aesthetic disputes as reflecting the least substantive differences between people—you like vanilla, I like chocolate, there’s no arguing over taste, let’s move on. But that point of view may be infected by the wishful thinking of backwards argumentation: given that there is no arguing over... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The author insists earnestly and at length that a regime of collectivism will inevitably be a dictatorship, a tyranny over the whole cultural and personal life of man as well as over economic activity, however defined. The turning-point from liberalism as laisser faire to liberalism as collectivism, miscalled liberalism, is... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The widely read, widely traveled, superlatively observant author of the Wealth of Nations need not be told so obvious a thing as that self-interest entered also political life.... Smith gave a larger role to emotion, prejudice, and ignorance in political life than he ever allowed in ordinary economic affairs. The... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The metaphor of the body politic can be an attractive one to think about political community, especially when the body is on the verge of collapse and you have a name for the disease: Brexit. The UK has been branded “the sick man of Europe” and needs a good cure... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
[This post was invited by Helen de Cruz on behalf of The Philosophers' Cocoon, where it runs simultaneously here.] Once you have received tenure or (in Europe) a permanent position, the time available for research often goes down drastically. You will be expected to take on more leadership, mentoring, and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
I started these Digressions in January 2014 (trying to cross Jonathan Swift with Foucault). Since then I have written 1208 posts of various length. I missed the chance to mark the thousandth post last year, so I will mark the millionth page-view, which D&I passed sometime during the last 24... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
For one of the first class ["good men" [vir bonus]]] perhaps springs into existence, like the phoenix, only once in five hundred years. And it is not surprising, either, that greatness develops only at long intervals; Fortune often brings into being commonplace powers, which are born to please the crowd... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
There are two surreal features about this year's Democratic primary: first, it seems self-consciously modeled on the 2015/16 Republican primary that nominated Donald Trump: a multiplicity of candidates debating each other on TV. The main point of this exercise is to maximize profit(s) for TV stations and, secondarily, for Democrats... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Remainder’s way turns out to be an extreme form of dialectical materialism-it’s a book about a man who builds in order to feel. A few days after the fake homeless epiphany, at a party, while in the host’s bathroom, the Enactor sees a crack in the plaster in the wall.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
China seems to have been long stationary, and had probably long ago acquired that full complement of riches which is consistent with the nature of its laws and institutions. But this complement may be much inferior to what, with other laws and institutions, the nature of its soil, climate, and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The hypothesis, which seems to me the most fertile, is that news and truth are not the same thing, and must be clearly distinguished. The function of news is to signalize an event, the function of truth is to bring to light the hidden facts, to set them into relation... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The contextualist revolution that gained significant momentum in the 1980s and the methodological disputes those gains engendered pivoted around a single question: should philosophers accept or reject a principle, which I dub the “Getting Things Right Constraint” (GTRC)? As a first approximation, I render the GTRC as follows: historians of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Donald Trump has praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping over his handling of the protests in Hong Kong, after a weekend that saw police fire tear gas at demonstrators and a mob launched a vicious attack on pro-democracy campaigners. The US president told reporters at a White House meeting with Imran... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
Assmann’s argument is the sort of razzle-dazzle that depends on coinages like “mnemohistory,” which is the exalted and useful discipline of interpreting history that collective memory has displaced and suppressed so thoroughly only the writer has an inkling even of the fact of suppression. In this cognitive implosion a fusion... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
We have to get away from the obsession with language. Speech is of vital importance, but is is caught up in its multiform correlation with the integrality of affirmative experience, and has no constituent syntactic power. To confuse philosophy with grammar or with an inventory of rules is aberrational. Let... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The liberalism of fear has historically been taken to have such [empowered] listeners. But when it is so taken, it naturally attracts the traditional criticisms, because what it can be taken to enjoin is the extreme limitation of state power, the message that indeed it has traditionally conveyed. And that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
[T]he mind of man is also subject to an unaccountable elevation and presumption, arising from prosperous success, from luxuriant health, from strong spirits, or from a bold and confident disposition. In such a state of mind, the imagination swells with great but confused conceptions, to which no sublunary beauties or... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
The political origins of the modern concept of self-determination can be traced back to the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America of 4 July 1776, which proclaimed that governments derived ‘their just powers from the consent of the governed’ and that ‘whenever any Form of Government becomes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions
An extreme rightwing terrorist has been sentenced to prison for the rest of his life for the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox after a seven-day Old Bailey trial in which he made no effort to defend himself. Thomas Mair repeatedly shot and stabbed Cox in an attack during... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2019 at Digressions&Impressions