• Continue reading Heidegger's "Being and Time" together

    Panera Bread at Norterra

    This will be our third session on Being and Time. Session 3 will be pages[masked], division one sections IV and V, Being With, the They, Being In as such. This covers Heidegger's famous concept of "the They" (das Man), how human existence is always existence with and alongside others, addressing personality, social being, and our tendency to "fall" into the roles we receive from our social environment; that we experience others as what they do and then measure ourselves in comparison to our image of their being, so understood. We thus tend to avoid ourselves in our individuality in favor of a kind of grey average personality that we assume and act, that removes from us the burdens of decision and responsibility. "Everyone is the other, and no one is himself". New attendees are welcome. Heidegger plan Being and Time over 7 sessions. Then potentially volumes 3 and 4 of Heidegger’s Nietzsche over 6-8 additional sessions, if there is continued interest. Cadence is every 3 weeks if possible. Last session 36-42 weeks after first, about nine or ten months total. Being and Time use Harper Perennial Macquarrie and Robinson translation. Here is an Amazon link to the right edition - https://www.amazon.com/Being-Harper-Perennial-Modern-Thought/dp/0061575593 Session 1 May 2019 pages 21-90, sections introduction, division one sections I and II, Exposition of the Task and Being in the World as the basic state of Dasein. Pay special attention to section 9 pages 67-71 and sections 12-13 pages 78-90, which we will read aloud together. Even if you only skim everything else, read those 17 pages carefully and prepare questions about them. They are fundamental to the entire project. Session 2 will be pages[masked], division one section III, the Worldhood of the World. Session 3 pages[masked], division one sections IV and V, Being With, the They, Being In as such Session 4 pages[masked], division one section VI, Care as the Being of Dasein Session 5 pages[masked], division two sections I and II, Being towards death, the conscience Session 6 pages[masked], division two sections III and IV, Temporality and Care, Temporality and Everydayness Session 7 pages[masked], division two sections V and VI, Historicality and Within-Time-ness This gets us through the whole work over 7 sessions, allowing us to digest it about 70-80 pages at a time and to discuss everything that comes up along the way. In the first session there are just 17 pages to pay closest attention to, and we will read those aloud together in person to ensure everyone has a solid grounding in what the subject matter is here. We will discuss at our next session on ancient skepticism, any go through the proposed plan. Newcomers welcome as always.

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  • Continue reading Heidegger's "Being and Time" together

    Panera Bread at Norterra

    This will be our second session on Being and Time. Session 2 will be pages[masked], division one section III, the Worldhood of the World. New attendees are welcome. Heidegger plan Being and Time over 7 sessions. Then potentially volumes 3 and 4 of Heidegger’s Nietzsche over 6-8 additional sessions, if there is continued interest. Cadence is every 3 weeks if possible. Last session 36-42 weeks after first, about nine or ten months total. Being and Time use Harper Perennial Macquarrie and Robinson translation. Here is an Amazon link to the right edition - https://www.amazon.com/Being-Harper-Perennial-Modern-Thought/dp/0061575593 Session 1 May 2019 pages 21-90, sections introduction, division one sections I and II, Exposition of the Task and Being in the World as the basic state of Dasein. Pay special attention to section 9 pages 67-71 and sections 12-13 pages 78-90, which we will read aloud together. Even if you only skim everything else, read those 17 pages carefully and prepare questions about them. They are fundamental to the entire project. Session 2 will be pages[masked], division one section III, the Worldhood of the World. Session 3 pages[masked], division one sections IV and V, Being With, the They, Being In as such Session 4 pages[masked], division one section VI, Care as the Being of Dasein Session 5 pages[masked], division two sections I and II, Being towards death, the conscience Session 6 pages[masked], division two sections III and IV, Temporality and Care, Temporality and Everydayness Session 7 pages[masked], division two sections V and VI, Historicality and Within-Time-ness This gets us through the whole work over 7 sessions, allowing us to digest it about 70-80 pages at a time and to discuss everything that comes up along the way. In the first session there are just 17 pages to pay closest attention to, and we will read those aloud together in person to ensure everyone has a solid grounding in what the subject matter is here. We will discuss at our next session on ancient skepticism, any go through the proposed plan. Newcomers welcome as always.

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  • Begin reading Heidegger's "Being and Time" together

    Panera Bread at Norterra

    As a next major theme after our review of ancient Greek "schools" of philosophy after Plato and Aristotle, I propose a multi session reading of a major philosophic work together - "Being and Time" by Martin Heidegger. We may pursue other topics in the meantime, but the idea is to start a series of sessions - I envision 7 of them - covering this challenging work, with a once every 3-4 weeks cadence for those willing to commit to reading the whole work. As usual, we will still welcome "drop ins" who join us for only one of the sessions, but the idea is to give "regulars" an opportunity for a more sustained look at a long philosophical work, together. Why Heidegger? Because one cannot really appreciate where we are philosophically in the 21st century without understanding him, in my opinion. If we get through the whole subject together, we will understand the background against which most contemporary philosophical movements arose; without it people are "flying blind" in my estimation. Here is the proposed topic, work, and sketch of how we'll get through it together. I'll postpone the first session start date if I hear from enough people that a latter start will work better, given the need for books to arrive and similar. Heidegger plan Being and Time over 7 sessions. Then potentially volumes 3 and 4 of Heidegger’s Nietzsche over 6-8 additional sessions, if there is continued interest. Cadence is every 3 weeks if possible. Last session 36-42 weeks after first, about nine or ten months total. Being and Time use Harper Perennial Macquarrie and Robinson translation. Here is an Amazon link to the right edition - https://www.amazon.com/Being-Harper-Perennial-Modern-Thought/dp/0061575593 Session 1 May 2019 pages 21-90, sections introduction, division one sections I and II, Exposition of the Task and Being in the World as the basic state of Dasein. Pay special attention to section 9 pages 67-71 and sections 12-13 pages 78-90, which we will read aloud together. Even if you only skim everything else, read those 17 pages carefully and prepare questions about them. They are fundamental to the entire project. Session 2 will be pages[masked], division one section III, the Worldhood of the World. Session 3 pages[masked], division one sections IV and V, Being With, the They, Being In as such Session 4 pages[masked], division one section VI, Care as the Being of Dasein Session 5 pages[masked], division two sections I and II, Being towards death, the conscience Session 6 pages[masked], division two sections III and IV, Temporality and Care, Temporality and Everydayness Session 7 pages[masked], division two sections V and VI, Historicality and Within-Time-ness This gets us through the whole work over 7 sessions, allowing us to digest it about 70-80 pages at a time and to discuss everything that comes up along the way. In the first session there are just 17 pages to pay closest attention to, and we will read those aloud together in person to ensure everyone has a solid grounding in what the subject matter is here. We will discuss at our next session on ancient skepticism, any go through the proposed plan. Newcomers welcome as always.

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  • Discuss Sextus Empiricus "Outlines of Pyrrhonism", on the skeptical philosophy

    I wanted to plan ahead a bit to avoid the skip we had in February, and to give members a chance to get and read the next work I plan for after Lucretius and Epicureanism. This I'm setting for early April, 3 weeks after our next meeting. The new subject is ancient Skepticism, represented by Sextus Empiricus and his work "Outlines of Pyrrhonism". Empiricus wrote sometimes in the first couple of centuries AD, certainly before 235 AD since some of his arguments are copied in Hippolytus. The latest political figure mentioned in any of his surviving texts is Tiberius who died in 37 AD. There is another probably citation of a doctor believed to have lived in the mid 100s pushing his probable dates later, but virtually nothing is known about his life, other than his surviving writings and his profession. He was a medical doctor of the empiric method, as it was known in those days. Empiricus gives us the mature version of ancient skepticism from the Roman world, much later than its early Academic form from Carneades in the early Platonic Academy at Athens. He is frequently arguing against the Stoics, and less often the Epicureans, as dominant philosophical schools of his own day that he regarded as "dogmatic philosophy". The Pyrrho of his work's title was a much early Greek skeptical philosopher, a contemporary of Alexander the Great, who is credited by the school with its founding and its core arguments. This school sought suspension of judgment or avoidance of all positive belief ("dogma") as unjustified. They opposed Carneades for his claims that knowledge is impossible as too positive and dogmatic. The work is relatively short, 3 books totaling just over 200 pages. Book I outlines skepticism, and books II-III then uses it to attack other philosophies, with II focused on logic and mathematics (the hardest ground to sustain full blown skepticism, with Stoic logic the primary target), III mostly on physics and only toward the end on ethics. I think it is very helpful to have been exposed to ancient skepticism in this finished form, not because I find it very convincing myself, but because many forms of later thought have borrowed elements from it, and it is a "school perennial" that amateurs endlessly rediscover. Skeptical arguments had a major resurgence with Hume in the early modern period, and another even deeper wave from the late 19th to early 20th century in analytic philosophy, logic, scientific method, and the foundations of mathematics. Many who know those later conversations are unaware of how old these arguments are. A full PDF of the work in translation can be found here - https://track3.mixtape.moe/xstcvo.pdf And for those desiring a paper copy, here is an Amazon link (inexpensive used, but allow some time for delivery) - https://www.amazon.com/Outlines-Pyrrhonism-Great-Books-Philosophy/dp/0879755970 As always, interested newcomers are welcome.

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  • Discuss Lucretius "The Nature of Things", on the Epicurean philosophy

    Our next session will be in March to give participants a chance to read our next work, which will be about half of the long poem from Lucretius "On the Nature of Things", which is the fullest account of the philosophy of Epicurus. Lucretius was a later Roman poet and disciple of the school, who has left us a complete work setting forth its teachings in this somewhat flowery literary form. We focus on him to understand the Epicurean school, as one of the principle alternatives to the Stoicism we discussed in our last session, in the ancient Hellenic and Roman world. The work is long in the public domain and can be found complete, in a decent English translation, on the MIT classic site on the web. Note that the html version can fail to load the end of the work, so below I link to the plain text version, which is complete. http://classics.mit.edu/Carus/nature_things.mb.txt An Amazon link for those who want a physical book is here - https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Universe-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/0199555141 You should read all of books I, II and III of the work, which consists of 6 books all told. I also recommend reading the very final section of book VI, beginning from the heading "the Plague Athens", which describes that disease during the Peloponnesian war, and its effects on the Athenians. It is important for where it shows the work eventually "coming out", so to speak, since this forms a pretty stark contrast with its earliest sections. If you don't have time for the full reading, try to finish book I and that final section, at least. Epicurus was famous for his materialism and atomism, and also for his hostility to religion as he found it among the Greeks. The term itself has passed into common parlance with the connotation of hedonism or love of pleasure, and there is some truth to that in the sect's ethical doctrines. But those focused on purity of pleasure or pleasure without any admixture of pain as the good men ought to seek, and identified that with a peace of mind said to be produced by philosophic understanding. As always, newcomers are welcome and we will discuss the work and its background in a manner accessible to any level of familiarity with the author.

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  • Read "the golden sayings of Epictetus" and discuss his philosophy of Stoicism

    Our January session will return to the classics to read the short work, "the Golden Sayings of Epictetus", a collection of short aphorisms from this Roman Stoic philosopher. Our author's life spanned 100 AD by 30-50 years on either side, so relatively early in the Roman empire but well after the fall of the republic. Focusing mostly on morals, it is a timeless classic presentation of the Stoic view of the world. With its short aphorism form and modest length, it is also a highly accessible work. An Amazon link can be found here - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1545528985/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p3_i0 It is in the public domain of course, so many versions can also be found online in free e-text form. An example from the MIT online classics site is - http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/goldsay.html As usual, newcomers are welcome; feel free to participate even if you can't do all of the reading ahead of time, and to ask questions from those of us who have. Moving the time to the following week after several requests to do so.

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  • Read and discuss Kolakowski's "The Two Eyes of Spinoza" chapters 1-8

    Our December session will continue our examination of Spinoza and related thought, this time via a secondary work from Kolakowski entitled "The Two Eyes of Spinoza", chapters 1-8. These cover Spinoza himself in the first 2 chapters, and others of the time in chapters 3-8 (Pierre Bayle, the Mennonites, Dutch mysticism and rationalism, Uriel da Costa, Pierre Gassendi, and an essay on Luther and his effects philosophy. We will hold off on the later chapters which are essays on other subjects entirely, on positivism, Marx, Heidegger, etc. An Amazon link to the work can be found here - https://www.amazon.com/Two-Eyes-Spinoza-Leszek-Kolakowski/dp/158731875X As usual, newcomers are welcome; feel free to participate even if you can't do all of the reading ahead of time, and to ask questions from those of us who have.

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  • Read and discuss Spinoza's Theological Political Treatise

    Panera Bread at Norterra

    Our November session will continue our examination of early modern works on the boundary of religion and philosophy and the relations between them, this time with Baruch Spinoza's classic "Theological Political Treatise". Spinoza is famous for founding the discipline of biblical criticism, arguing for the separation of philosophy and theology, and for his arguments for freedom of speech in this 17th century work. As a flavor of his writing, from the preface "most people, when in prosperity, are so over-brimming with wisdom (however inexperienced they may be), that they take every offer of advice as a personal insult..." Spinoza is a classic of early modern rationalism, developing from Descartes a full philosophical system committed to determinism, that influenced all continental philosophy after him. That system is fully presented in his "Ethics", while here we have his doctrine on society, theology and politics. An Amazon link to the work can be found here - https://www.amazon.com/Theologico-Political-Treatise-Political-Philosophical-Classics/dp/0486437221 There is also a gutenberg e-text page for this work, here - http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/989 As usual, newcomers are welcome; feel free to participate even if you can't do all of the reading ahead of time, and to ask questions from those of us who have.

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  • Read and discuss Leszek Kolakowski's book "the devil and scripture"

    As discussed at the end of our last meeting, for our next work we will continue with Polish philosopher Kolakowski, this time a short book called "the devil and scripture", also called "the key to heaven" after its first part. This is a lighter, somewhat whimsical book in which our philosopher imagines the lessons one might learn from various parts of the bible if read less than charitably, one might say. The second half has a number of short bits of fiction with a similar idea, including 'A Shorthand Transcript of a Metaphysical Press Conferences given by the Devil in Warsaw, on 20 December 1963'. My hope is that our participants will find the essays entertaining and provocative. It is a comparatively easy read. Amazon links to the work can be found here - https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Scripture-Key-Heaven-Talk/dp/0192125753 https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0394177851/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=&sr= As usual, newcomers are welcome; feel free to participate even if you can't do all of the reading ahead of time, and to ask questions from those of us who have. We still do intend to discuss Spinoza next time and I will put that on the calendar soon, but we need more time for that weightier work and this one can hold us over until our November meeting.

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  • Read and discuss "God owes us nothing" by Leszek Kolakowski (on Pascal)

    As discussed at the end of our last meeting, for our next work we will return to Polish philosopher Kolakowski, this time discussing Pascal and Jansenism, an interesting theological controversy in 17th century France that highlights many of the issues roiling Europe in that period from a unique perspective. The title of the work is "God owes us nothing", meant to express the view that Kolakowski is imputing to Pascal as a core distinguishing mark of Pascal's theological take on the problem of evil, grace, justification, free will etc. Kolakowski's own thesis is that in the course of this 17th century controversy, the Catholic church (pushed especially by a specific party within it) effectively denounced views traceable to Saint Augustine, in an effort to distinguish the church's position more sharply from Calvinist views. French Jansenist Catholics, including Pascal's sister, trying to adhere to their order's understanding of Augustine, were thereby caught in a kind of theological-party crossfire. I find the work fascinating because it shows an informed modern philosopher trying to be fair to all sides of this historical controversy, with a real understanding of the true philosophical issues (above all of free will and moral agency) at the root of the conflict. An Amazon link to our work can be found here - https://www.amazon.com/God-Owes-Us-Nothing-Jansenism/dp/0226450538 As usual, newcomers are welcome; feel free to participate even if you can't do all of the reading ahead of time, and to ask questions from those of us who have.