Archive for existentialism

Merci, Madame Gréco, rose noire des préaux. De l’école des enfants pas sages.

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2020 by xi'an

an interview with Sartre

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2019 by xi'an

I came by chance upon this interview of Jean-Paul Sartre in a student journal and found some quotations worth (?) posting as illustrative of his countertop philosophy talents:

“…certains acteurs, même très bons, se donnent tout entiers, et lorsqu’ils jouent, sont en train de croire à ce qu’ils jouent. Ils vivent leurs rôles. Ils oublient que le théâtre, ce n’est jamais la vie.”

“Dans L’Etre et le Néant, j’ai expliqué qu’être un garçon de café, c’était jouer à l’être, que les deux ne se distinguaient pas.”

“Il n’y a pas de vérité absolue. L’Histoire est si brouillée qu’il n’y a pas de références absolues, à moins d’être communiste ou croyant.”

“…je ne suis pas sûr que la notion de justice soit indispensable à la société. Je suppose qu’elle vient elle-même d’une vieille couche théologique. Si vous n’avez pas de Dieu, elle n’a plus de sens, sauf comme protection contre une certaine catégorie d’individus. La notion de justice est vraiment inutile.”

atheism: a very [very] short introduction [book review]

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2017 by xi'an

After the rather disappointing Edge of Reason, I gave a try at Baggini’s very brief introduction to atheism, which is very short. And equally very disappointing. Rather than approaching the topic from a (academic) philosophical perspective, ex nihilo,  and while defending himself from doing so, the author indeed adopts a rather militant tone in trying to justify the arguments and ethics of atheism, setting the approach solely in a defensive opposition to religions. That is, in reverse, as an answer to faiths and creeds. Even when his arguments make complete sense, e.g., in the lack of support for agnosticism against atheism, the link with inductive reasoning (and Hume), and the logical [and obvious] disconnection between morality and religious attitudes.

“…once we accept the inductive method, we should, to be consistent, also accept that it points toward a naturalism that supports atheism…” (p.27)

While he mentions “militant atheism” as a fundamentalist position to be as avoided as the numerous religious versions, I find the whole exercise in this book missing the point of both an intellectual criticism of atheism [in the sense of Kant’s best seller!] and of the VSI series. Again, to define atheism as an answer to religions and to their irrationality is reducing the scope of this philosophical branch to a contrarian posture, rather than independently advancing a rationalist and scientific position on the entropic nature of life and the universe, one that does not require for a purpose or a higher cause. And to try to show it provides better answers to the same questions as those addressed by religions stoops down to their level.

“So it is not the case that atheism follows merely from some shallow commitment to the primacy of scientific inquiry.” (p.77)

The link therein with a philosophical analysis seems so weak that I deem the essay rather belongs to journalosophy. The very short history of atheism and its embarrassed debate on the attributed connections between atheism and some modern era totalitarianisms [found in the last chapter] are an illustration of this divergence from scholarly work. That the author felt the need to include pictures to illustrate his points says it all!