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175. Medusa and R.D. Laing’s Divided Self

In his book The Divided Self (Penguin: 1969) the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing (1927-1989) attempts to existentially and phenomenologically, rather than biologically and clinically, understand “the schizoid individual” or “an individual the totality of whose experience is split in two Read more ›

138. Ingmar Bergman’s Metaphysical Reduction, Part 3: The Silence

In May 1963, the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) retrospectively described his films Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence as a trilogy with a theme: “The theme of these three films is a ‘reduction’ – in Read more ›

137. Ingmar Bergman’s Metaphysical Reduction, Part 2: Winter Light

In May 1963, the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) retrospectively described his films Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence as a trilogy with a theme: “The theme of these three films is a ‘reduction’ – in Read more ›

136. Ingmar Bergman’s Metaphysical Reduction, Part 1: Through a Glass Darkly

In May 1963, the Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) retrospectively described his films Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, and The Silence as a trilogy with a theme: “The theme of these three films is a ‘reduction’ – in Read more ›

120. Philosophy and the Sublime

Many of our efforts at self-examination presuppose at least a sense of things we don’t know. We sense our life is inadequate and take steps to acquire more knowledge to remove our ignorance. We widen our scope, gain new perspectives, and Read more ›

92. Plato’s Wooden Horse Argument and the Soul

How is it that we can experience incoming data from the five senses as coherent, rather than incoherent, perceptions of objects and people? This issue, often referred to as “the binding problem” in neuroscience, has been a concern of philosophers Read more ›

55. Eros vs. Thanatos, Part 1: Archive Fever

Sigmund Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents, claims, like the pre-Socratic Empedocles before him, that there are two “Heavenly Powers” or mutually opposing instincts: Eros and Thanatos. Freud characterizes these two principles as follows: eros is the instinct to conserve Read more ›

22. The Demonic, Part 2: Demonic Music

The Danish proto-existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) put forth an intriguing account of the demonic in chapter 4 of his eccentric work The Concept of Anxiety (see the Princeton edition translated by the Hongs). Kierkegaard claims the demonic person has “anxiety about the Read more ›