LoveKnowledge: The Life of Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida

LoveKnowledge: The Life of Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida

by Roy Brand
     
 

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Since its inception, philosophy has been more than an abstract search for truth or body of knowledge. It perfects one's understanding by means of discussion and dialogue and personal, poetic, or dramatic investigation. Philosophers such as Socrates, Spinoza, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida differ in almost every respect, yet they share a common method of

Overview

Since its inception, philosophy has been more than an abstract search for truth or body of knowledge. It perfects one's understanding by means of discussion and dialogue and personal, poetic, or dramatic investigation. Philosophers such as Socrates, Spinoza, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida differ in almost every respect, yet they share a common method of practicing philosophy -- not as a detached, intellectual discipline, but as a worldly art.

Reading key philosophical texts from classical Greece to the present day, Roy Brand explores the fundamental role of passion, desire, and love in the development of western philosophy. He then examines the character of knowledge love has created. LoveKnowledge returns to the long tradition of philosophy as an exercise not only of the mind but also of the soul, asking whether philosophy can shape and inform our lives and communities. Each chapter focuses on a major philosopher's seminal work and central motivation, opening with a brief biography encouraging readers to compare the philosopher's life and worldview. "Popular philosophy" in the best sense, LoveKnowledge proves the vitality and relevance of the discipline's most important questions and perplexing texts. Steering clear of jargon without oversimplifying the narrative, the volume draws readers into the active and emotional dimensions of knowledge production.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Taking a cue from the usual translation of philosophy (“love of knowledge”) Brand, a professor of philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College, constructs an intensely personal and engrossing book that tackles several major philosophical texts, weaving connections and seeking to discover anew why philosophy, its questions, and its interplay of desire and knowledge are relevant to this day. He begins with Socrates—via Plato—and moves through Spinoza, Rousseau, and Nietzsche to the present with Foucault and Derrida. Brand anchors each chapter with a brief biographical sketch before approaching a key late text, often finding links between philosophies. His authorial voice captivates, and though arcane terms inevitably spring up, the dedicated reader is amply rewarded. Ideally, the book “trusts the impressions of the reader and her ability to navigate a philosophical landscape without an outline or map but with a sense of orientation and know-how.” Thus, Brand doesn’t always provide answers—and admits he won’t—but he offers food for thought, so when he describes Rousseau’s philosophy as “an exercise in the art of living,” he could easily be talking about his own work. Though experts may have their own views on Brand’s “idiosyncratic” interpretations, those newer to this discipline will have much to take away—about love, learning, and leading the fullest life possible—from this slim but full volume. (Nov.)
Hent de Vries
Roy Brand steps away from the technicalities that populate the history of philosophy as an academic discipline, just as he shows himself a truly sanguine observer who stays above the fray of the different and diverging currents and debates of our days. What results is an at once greatly informative and deeply personal book, with chapters that serve as vignettes and epitomize the best of philosophical thinking about a question that matters to most.

Steven Levine
Roy Brand takes the reader on a journey through the history of philosophy, examining works by Plato, Spinoza, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Foucault, and Derrida. He does a wonderful job of showing how the relation between love/knowledge weaves its way through these various authors.

Portland Book Review
Compelling.

Dialogue - Diana Karbonowska
May the neophyte who reads this book be drawn to the field of philosophy, and may the professional be reminded of the LoveKnowledge that sparked her interest in philosophy in the first place.

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews - Jeremy David Bendik-Keymer
The greatest strength of Brand's book is that it is humble, an uncommon virtue among academic philosophers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231160445
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/04/2012
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Christoph Menke
In a clear, beautiful style Roy Brand explores how philosophy, since its beginning in Socrates up to Derrida, has thought about itself—its precarious and fragile position in life. It is an intellectual adventure to follow Brand steering the course of his thoughts between the Scylla of narcissistic abstraction and the Charybdis of naive anti-intellectualism: a remarkable achievement!

Eva Illouz
Philosophia is notoriously the love of knowledge, yet few have asked what it means to love knowledge, how knowledge can be loved differently by different philosophers, and how love affects the very knowledge it shapes. In this concise and elegant book, Roy Brand offers a thrilling read on this core and understudied notion of philosophy. He takes us through a grand tour of the history of philosophy from Socrates to Derrida in lucid and witty prose. Brand's book is not only about the love of knowledge; it performs itself that, and will make you fall in love with philosophy if you haven't already.

Meet the Author

Roy Brand is a professor of philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College and the director and chief curator of Bezalel, Yaffo 23/Jerusaelm, center for contemporary art and culture. He is the editor and translator of Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Habermas and Derrida and editor and consultant curator of Bare Life: Contemporary Art Reflecting on the State of Emergency.

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