Berfrois

There is nothing that costs less to acquire than the name of philosophe…

There is nothing that costs less to acquire than the name of philosophe…

The professional conception of ‘philosopher’ in the early-21st-century United States bears an interesting comparison to the figure of the ‘philosophe’ in 18th-century France. As is well-known, the philosophes, like most current members in good standing of the APA, were often seen from the outside as not really being philosophers in the fullest sense.

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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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Stuart Elden: Kant, Space and Time

Stuart Elden: Kant, Space and Time

Kant lectured on a variety of topics through his career, including logic, metaphysics and ethics, but also on topics that were not strictly philosophical including anthropology, education and geography. Geography was one of his most popular—the most reliable figures suggest lectures on this topic were given forty-nine times from...

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Totally Extinct

Totally Extinct

by Justin E. H. Smith Since the Paris World Fair in 1900, the Galerie d’Anatomie Comparée of the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle exhibition has been housed together with the Galerie de Paléontologie, featuring the fossils of extinct creatures: the dinosaurs and outsized Pleistocene mammals that so enrapture the children, and...

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Masha Tupitsyn: About Two

Masha Tupitsyn: About Two

All the President’s Men, Warner Bros., 1976 by Masha Tupitsyn For a long time it was all about the camera. The truths it presented and the truths it covered up. We knew the camera lied, but we also believed it told the truth. Now we know it only does...

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Bananas!

Bananas!

In his 1917 short story, “Report to an Academy,” Kafka tells the story of Red Peter, a chimpanzee captured in Africa and brought back to Europe to be studied by the members of an institution very much like the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Red Peter, by some unusual...

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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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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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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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