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

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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”

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  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’ – Read more ›

92. Plato’s Wooden Horse Argument and the Soul

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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 ›

87. Eros vs. Thanatos, Part 3: The Furies of Creativity

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In previous posts we have seen ways in which Eros (love) can imply, lead to, or be thwarted by Thanatos (death). Here is yet another example of a dynamic relation between the two from Alfred North Whitehead. In his book Read more ›

82. Plato on the Immortality of the Soul: Republic Book X, Part 4: Kierkegaard’s Development

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In the last three posts I have considered Plato’s argument for the immortality of the soul in book X of his dialogue the Republic. I would like to finish this series with a look at one attempt to present a Read more ›

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80. Plato on the Immortality of the Soul: Republic X, Part 2

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In post #79 I introduced Plato’s argument for the immortality of the soul in Book X of his dialogue Republic (all quotations will be from Cornford’s translation).  I then discussed the argument’s central claim – the essential destructibility claim – which Read more ›

66. Dracula, Part 3

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‘Existentialism’ is a term that usually refers to philosophies that revolve around general and fundamental notions like authentic selfhood (or lack thereof), responsibility, choice, anxiety, death, commitment, and passion.  Existential philosophers usually avoid discussing impersonal issues and issues in an Read more ›

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

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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 ›

52. Art and the Decline of Civilization?

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There is certainly something wonderful about people expressing themselves without any formal training. For example, the punk movement included many young people who just decided to form a band and THEN learned a little bit in order to be heard. Read more ›

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50. Why Do People Want to Assassinate Beauty?, Part 2

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Tristan Tzara, in his Dadaist Manifesto of 1918, argued that Dadaists were out to “assassinate beauty”. But why would anyone want to assassinate beauty? In the previous post I discussed, with reference to Plato’s Symposium, Roger Scruton’s account of this Read more ›

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22. The Demonic, Part 2: Demonic Music

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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 ›