The following quote is from “The Birth of Tragedy,” (1872), Sections 1 and 2. Nietzsche discusses the two faces of art, The Apollonian and the Dionysian, but it is striking that his analysis can also be seen as a forerunner of Freud’s drive theory: Eros and Thanatos, or as Lacan’s distinction between desire and jouissance. […]

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Kierkegaards’ works are interesting to read, they have a freshness and intensity that separates them from other philosophical writings. It is easy to get lost in his aphorisms – but what are the main features of his thought? Here is a summary: Becoming a Christian Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was, in many ways, the first existentialist. He […]

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The 1844 Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts remained unpublished during Marx’s lifetime and did not surface until 1927, about 44 years after his death. These manuscripts illustrate the young Marx’s transition from philosophy to political economy. Marx’s emerging interest in the economy is apparent – an interest that distinguishes him from other followers of Hegel – but his […]

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Proudhon was from humble origins but had become a well-known French social theorist during the 1840s. A printer by trade, he was an exponent of socialism, with a political preference for anarchism. His most famous book was his second one, Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (1840) (his brief answer it is theft). Before 1848 he also […]

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Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) was an American philosopher and political theorist. He is also knows as an abolitionist, a naturalist, a critic of development, and he resisted paying taxes. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government, an argument for […]

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A brief overview of the reading: Jeremy Bentham’s (1748-1832) principle of utility is open to the objection that it may well sacrifice the rights of the minority for the sake of the happiness of the majority. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), himself a utilitarian, sought to rescue utilitarianism from this and other objections. In his essay Utilitarianism, […]

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This short article by Dewey was first published in Philosophical Review, 3, 337-341. Pretty much all libertarians nowadays insist that their doctrine of freedom of will is quite distinct from the older theory of indifferent choice. They suggest that their opponents are quite out of date in devoting their attention to the latter doctrine, which, […]

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