To those of us in the universities, the Left’s animus to Catholicism revealed by Wikileaks this past week is not news. What Podesta and the Clinton circle said might have been exposed, but such slights about Catholicism are heard around universities all the time. As the Wall Street Journal points out, if such things were said about Islam they would be denounced as bigotry.
Albert Camus adored swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. It would be fascinating to know how this great philosopher, who was acutely aware of France’s complicated relationship with the Arab world, would have reacted to the burkini ban on the French Riviera.
Was he or wasn’t he? An enormous number of words have been written to contest the question of whether Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was an avid supporter of Hitlerism and totalitarianism.
When David Hume died at the age of 65 in the year of the American Revolution, he was rich, famous, and often misunderstood.
It was Milton Friedman who said: “a corporation’s responsibility is to make as much money for the stockholders as possible.” Despite his Nobel Prize, Friedman definitely hasn’t persuaded our business schools of that. In fact much of the literature on the social responsibilities of business was produced as a retort to that 1962 assertion of his.
Few Master of Arts theses enter the history of ideas. Indeed, seldom is it that anyone but the examiners read them. Designed to consolidate undergraduate learning, few such writings have intrinsic worth. That a publisher of authors like Pierre Manent, Roger Scruton, and René Girard should print a Master of Arts thesis is a rarity. Then again, the strangeness evaporates on learning that the student work is that of Albert Camus. But not entirely, for the title of this 1936 thesis is Christian Metaphysics and Neoplatonism.
“But it is certain that the political philosophy of modernity will not be able to emerge out of its contradictions except by becoming aware of its theological roots.”
This sentence concludes Giorgio Agamben’s new book, Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm. Agamben seems to have his finger on the pulse of history with the Paris killings raising the specter of a theologically inspired civil war.
When Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on the environment and economy, “Our Common Home,” was released in May, the response was a veritable media frenzy. That papal text warrants lots of sustained attention, to be sure. By contrast, no fanfare accompanied Eerdmans’ 2014 publication of the first English translation of Analogia Entis. It is, however, a seminal event in Catholic ideas—an astonishing work of philosophy and theology. Published in 1932, and 1962 in expanded form, this massive 600-page book was written by a German-Polish Jesuit, Erich Przywara (1889-1972). It has been quietly shaping Catholic thought for years. The great intellectual popes, Saint John…
In 1944, the Hungarian moral and political philosopher Aurel Kolnai (1900-1973) wrote an essay that is indispensable reading for anyone wishing to understand today’s culture. Whether you are pondering the Left/Right split in our politics, the riddle that is Pope Francis, or the peculiar character of Western civilization and its ability to forestall its latest enemies, Kolnai’s “The Humanitarian Versus the Religious Attitude” will help.
Teaching philosophy isn’t usually thought to go with an interest in fashion. For one thing, philosophers are hardly legendary for their sartorial flair. For another, someone might question why the philosopher would consider fashion an important subject to think or write about. Fashion and the ethics of the fashion industry do preoccupy me, though. I have my reasons, not least of which is the thought of the German phenomenologist, Max Scheler (1874-1928). Scheler speaks of the “natural outlook,” by which phrase he tries to capture the idea that some phenomena are so close to us, so everyday, that we lose sight…