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The Joy of Philosophy

Robert C. Solomon

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165401
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870103 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195165403.001.0001
The Joy of Philosophy

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The Joy of Philosophy: Thinking Thin and the Passionate Life is a return to some of the perennial questions of philosophy, questions about the meaning of life, about death and tragedy, about the respective roles of rationality and passion in the good life, about love, compassion, and revenge, about honesty, deception, and betrayal, about who we are, and how we think about who we are. It is an attempt to save philosophy from a century‐old fiber diet of thin arguments and logical analysis and recover the richness and complexity of life in thought. It tackles the question, loathed by professional philosophers but asked all too often by nonphilosophers, “Has Analytic Philosophy Ruined Philosophy?” The answer is “no,” or at least, “not yet,” but superprofessionalization and a near‐exclusive emphasis on the “thinnest” of philosophical formulations and arguments have either robbed the perennial questions of their gut‐level force or dismissed them altogether as “pseudoquestions” suited only for sophomores. This is a book that tries to put the fun back in philosophy, recapturing the heartfelt confusion and excitement that originally brings us all into philosophy. But it is not a critique of contemporary philosophy so much as it is an attempt to engage in philosophy in a different kind of way, beginning with a reevaluation of Socrates and the nature of philosophy and defending the passionate life in contrast to the calm life of thoughtful contemplation so often held up as an ideal by traditional philosophers. It includes discussions of love as a virtue, Nietzsche's Will to Power, the politics of emotion, rationality in a multicultural perspective, the rationality of emotions, and the rationality of such emotions as sympathy and vengeance, the tragic sense of life, the nature of fate and luck, the denial of death and death fetishism, the nature of personal identity in multicultural and emotional perspective, and the role of deception and self‐deception in philosophy. In short, it is an attempt to recapture the kind of philosophy that Nietzsche celebrated as a “joyful wisdom.” My concern is to break down the walls between academic philosophy and its lost audience, between thin logic and thick rhetoric, between philosophical reason and philosophical passion, between “analytic” and “continental” philosophy, and between philosophy and life. As the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda says (of his poetry), the result is an “impure philosophy, as impure as old clothes, as a body with its foodstains and its shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, wakefulness, prophesies, declarations of love and hate, stupidities, shocks, idylls, political beliefs, negations, doubts, affirmations, and taxes.”

Keywords: analytic philosophy; logic; logical analysis; meaning of life; philosophy; professionalization; rationality; reason; Bertrand Russell; Socrates; Robert Solomon

Book.  284 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Joy of Philosophy

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The Passionate Life in The Joy of Philosophy

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The Politics of Emotion in The Joy of Philosophy

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Rationality and Its Vicissitudes in The Joy of Philosophy

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Justice, Sympathy, Vengeance in The Joy of Philosophy

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The Tragic Sense of Life in The Joy of Philosophy

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Thinking Death in the Face in The Joy of Philosophy

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Recovering Personal Identity in The Joy of Philosophy

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Afterthought: in The Joy of Philosophy

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