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Above It

It’s not that I don’t know it when I’m in it,searching for a spot to park my liquidassets or, faster than a New York minute,remit them into gritty circulation,while heels and tires haul their various freightaround for public estimated valuation. It’s just that, as the plane gains height and . . . . Continue Reading »

Cocktails with the Existentialists

More than seven decades have passed since philosophy held court on the world-historic stage, in the cafes and jazz halls of wartime Paris. For those who lament the decline of the “public intellectual,” this period richly serves the needs of nostalgia, conjuring chic melancholy, debates conducted in a tobacco haze, and the evergreen romance of La Résistance. Continue Reading »

A Philosopher in the Twilight

In his preface to the Philosophy of Right, Hegel famously remarks that the owl of Minerva takes flight only as dusk is falling, which is to say that philosophy comes only at the end of an age, far too late in the day to tell us how the world ought to be; it can at most merely ponder what already . . . . Continue Reading »

Kierkegaard for Grownups

That extraordinary writer of stories about the “Christ-haunted” American South, Flannery O’Connor, was frequently asked why her people and plots were so often outlandish, even grotesque. She answered, “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you have to draw large and . . . . Continue Reading »

Appropriating the Paradox

Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions by søren kierkegaard  princeton university press, 181 pages, $39    Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits by søren kierkegaard   princeton university press, 442 pages, $45 Kierkegaard presented these two books of discourses to his . . . . Continue Reading »

Walker Percy and the Christian Scandal

In Washington, where he was to give the eighteenth Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on May 3, 1989, Walker Percy also gave an interview to Scott Walter for Crisis . This is almost exactly a year before his death, and both the interview and his lecture, “The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault . . . . Continue Reading »

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