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Ridin’

Ridin’

by Justin E. H. Smith The apocryphal story of Phyllis and Aristotle is captivating for a number of reasons. For one thing, it recalls for us a period in the history of culture in which philosophy, and philosophers, were implicated not just in elite disputation, but also in popular...

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Work It

Work It

Work, Ford Maddox Brown, 1852–1865 by David Palumbo-Liu In its March 2013 issue, The Atlantic ran a tersely titled article, “Anthropology, Inc.” The author, Graeme Wood, spoke about a market research company (ReD) that was hiring anthropology PhDs to use their training in social science field work to dreg up...

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New Stories

New Stories

No, she insisted, she could never go back to Zanesville. Of course, she would continue to visit her hometown but she would not live there again. My student’s words were adamant but her voice broke with undisguised sadness. I stared at her as the sun flooded the oak desk...

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Daniel Tutt on Badiou’s Plato

Daniel Tutt on Badiou’s Plato

In what Alain Badiou calls his "hyper-translation" of Plato's Republic, we are taken into the world of Plato's classic dialogue on politics and justice, sped up to the pace of a 21st century New York street corner. Socrates and his sophist interlocutors speak a gritty street talk that is...

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WRT Fitness Outcomes

WRT Fitness Outcomes

by Massimo Pigliucci The “Darwinian” theory of evolution is here to stay. I used the scare quotes to refer to it in the previous sentence because the current incarnation, known as the Modern Synthesis (and incorrectly referred to as “neo-Darwinism,” which actually was an even earlier version) is significantly...

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Inject the Hellenic

Inject the Hellenic

James Joyce, Man Ray, 1922 by Juliet Flower MacCannell In his twenty-third seminar, Jacques Lacan framed the sinthome as a radical unknotting of the symbolic, the imaginary and the real. He offered le sinthome not as a mere technical addition to the battery of psychoanalytic tools, but as a...

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‘”That, to me? Is real.”’

‘”That, to me? Is real.”’

by Justin E. H. Smith I’ve carried around with me for the past few years this idea that George Saunders discovered a new method for exploring the human soul at hitherto unimagined depths, that he was the culmination of what Nietzsche had in mind when he called Stendhal ‘a...

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What is the real cause of Wittgenstein’s unpopularity within departments of philosophy?

What is the real cause of Wittgenstein’s unpopularity within departments of philosophy?

The singular achievement of the controversial early 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was to have discerned the true nature of Western philosophy — what is special about its problems, where they come from, how they should and should not be addressed, and what can and cannot be accomplished by...

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Always to be Blest

Always to be Blest

by Justin E. H. Smith I’ve been reading Thomas de Quincey’s 1827 essay, The Last Days of Immanuel Kant, which is really little more than a massively long quotation, in English translation, of Ehregott Andreas Wasianski’s 1804 work, Immanuel Kant in seinen letzten Lebensjahren. In fact, Wasianski’s entire work is cited, after a few...

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Kant’s Last Days

Kant’s Last Days

Death mask of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottfried Schadow, 1804 by Thomas De Quincey I take it for granted that every person of education will acknowledge some interest in the personal history of Immanuel Kant. A great man, though in an unpopular path, must always be an object of liberal...

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All the Magic Alcohol

All the Magic Alcohol

C. P. Cavafy by Gregory Jusdanis If asked to select a writer to dine with tonight, I would name C. P. Cavafy (1863-1933), the Greek poet of Alexandria. I would do this for many reasons but mainly to see his reaction when I tell him that he is one...

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A Day for Gifts

A Day for Gifts

Adam and Eve, Sara Chong by Jeremy Fernando … love is much more than love: love is something before love … — Clarice Lispector Almost without fail, on the fourteenth day of February, one is bound to hear numerous complaints from just about everyone (besides florists, perhaps even them)...

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Pick No Locks

Pick No Locks

The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting Company by Justin E. H. Smith I have declined, and continue to decline, to reply to many of the diverse points of criticism directed against my profession of faith, which I released into the world a month or so ago. I had thought it would...

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How can we reconcile virtue ethics and contractarianism?

How can we reconcile virtue ethics and contractarianism?

Tapping a Blast Furnace, Graham Sunderland, 1941-42 by Massimo Pigliucci A really fascinating and, as we shall see in a moment, somewhat nasty dispute has exploded in the philosophical public sphere, and I think it’s going to be interesting to see why – both sides have a very good...

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“God is seven!”

“God is seven!”

by Justin E. H. Smith Different people, different closets. I don’t quite know how to say it delicately so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I believe in God. Apart from periodic spells of foolish pride, I have believed in God all my life. Even...

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Daniel Tutt: Atheism

Daniel Tutt: Atheism

Warkton, Northamptonshire: Monument by Vangelder, 1775, John Piper, 1964 by Daniel Tutt Difficult Atheism: Tracing the Death of God in Contemporary Continental Thought, by Christopher Watkin, Edinburgh University Press, 224 pp. Declaring oneself an “atheist” just isn’t what it used to be. Growing numbers of Generation Y prefer to...

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The Scent of a Monad

The Scent of a Monad

Louis Riel by Justin E. H. Smith This is a translation of Louis Riel’s Mémoire sur les Monades, composed in prison while awaiting execution. Riel was hanged in Regina in November, 1885. To read the original French, go here. For a brief biography of Riel, go here. Riel’s version...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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