Friday, March 24, 2017

Worth serious attention …

… Collected Essays on Philosophers by Colin Wilson | Issue 119 | Philosophy Now. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wilson never disassociates a man from his ideas; a core component of his theory of Existential Literary Criticism is that a study of the author’s character is an essential part of interpreting their thought. As he notes with regard to Spinoza, “any attempt to judge him must start from Spinoza the human being” (p.205). His view of Herbert Marcuse is similarly tempered: “I am less interested in condemning Marcuse than in finding out ‘how he got like he is’” (p.80). Similarly, for Wilson it is Foucault’s sexual dysfunction which induces the negative inertia of most of his writing; while Wittgenstein was “a strange, tormented man” (p.233). In fact, Wilson is at his most critical when dissecting Bertrand Russell in three pieces here, again because personality flaws in the man dissipated his philosophy: “I am not attacking Russell on grounds of morality, but on his blindness to his own shortcomings. He liked to think of himself as a philosopher in the traditional sense of the word… yet he failed to see any inconsistency in 

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