Archive for February 11th, 2011

“Examined Lives”

February 11, 2011

Philosophy on the radio, again.*

This time it’s James Miller talking about his EXAMINED LIVES: From Socrates to Nietzsche.

If, like Plato, we define philosophy as a quest for wisdom that may prove unending, then what is the search for wisdom really good for?

What is the relation of reason to faith, of philosophy to religion, and how does the search for wisdom relate to the most exacting forms of rigorous inquiry and “science”?

…What is the “self” that so many of these philosophers have sought to know, and how has our conception of the self changed in the course of history, in part as a result of how successive philosophers have embarked on their quests? Indeed, is self- knowledge even feasible – and, if so, to what degree? Despite years of painful self- examination, Nietzsche famously declared that “we are necessarily strangers to ourselves, we have to misunderstand ourselves.”

Miller’s subjects are Socrates and Plato, Diogenes and Aristotle, Seneca and Augustine, Montaigne and Descartes, Rousseau and Kant, Emerson and Nietzsche. Ours too, in Intro. There will need to be a sequel or two. For one thing: where are the women and (except for Emerson & Augustine) the non-Europeans?

But, it is great to hear this on the radio.

* [WMOT: HappinessFuture… “On Point”: Wm James & American PhilosophyMontaigneLeibniz & Spinoza… “In Our Time” (BBC): Wm James’s “Varieties of Religious Experience“… more BBC philosophy… “Philosophy Bites” podcasts]