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01:53 PM on 06/11/12 
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jacinta.
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I read Sartre's No Exit a few days ago. To be honest, I haven't studied much Sartre. I know that Sartre emphasised that "existence precedes essence" and this is idea is obviously evident in the play. The character's choices and actions form their essence. Because individuals have the freedom to choose, the responsibility for actions falls into the hands of the individual, and the characters in No Exit have to pay for their actions. The characters were "condemned to be free". As I pointed out, my knowledge of Sartre is limited, and surely one would get much more out his play if one is familiar with his ideas. Nonetheless, I thought the play was interesting.
01:55 PM on 06/11/12 
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loveisdead
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I read Sartre's No Exit a few days ago. To be honest, I haven't studied much Sartre. I know that Sartre emphasised that "existence precedes essence" and this is idea is obviously evident in the play. The character's choices and actions form their essence. Because individuals have the freedom to choose, the responsibility for actions falls into the hands of the individual, and the characters in No Exit have to pay for their actions. The characters were "condemned to be free". As I pointed out, my knowledge of Sartre is limited, and surely one would get much more out his play if one is familiar with his ideas. Nonetheless, I thought the play was interesting.

It's incredibly interesting. Reading that play in college changed my outlook on so much.
02:05 PM on 06/11/12 
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jacinta.
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It's incredibly interesting. Reading that play in college changed my outlook on so much.

Have any similar recommendations? Short(ish) existentialist works maybe?
05:59 PM on 06/11/12 
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Love As Arson
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The Fall by Camus
07:17 PM on 06/11/12 
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jacinta.
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I'll read that, thanks. I love The Stranger.
12:31 AM on 06/13/12 
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Nevuk
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John Gardner's Grendel is probably the best anti-existentialist book I've read and it's a fairly short (albeit very disturbing and at times completely batshit insane) read, if people are interested in reading something with a stance opposing Existentialism. It's not strictly a philosophy book but there are far more philosophical musings and conversations than not.

Knowing the story of Beowulf can help with understanding certain plot points but the poem of Beowulf barely intersects with the story of Grendel.

I didn't find it to actually be anti-existentialist but apparently it was intended to be a criticism of Sarte's philosophy, and at the very least comes at it from a very dark perspective. The idea of the brute existent seems to be one that Gardner created to explore the cruelest aspects of existential philosophy and human nature but that doesn't really argue that Existentialism is theoretically wrong, it's more of a moral argument. There's so many ways to interpret the book, it makes me sad that Gardner died shortly after writing it.

I think I'm going to reread Grendel... I last read it over 5 years ago and still remember it vividly.
09:10 PM on 06/14/12 
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Chocolatethief
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The only philosophical book I ever read was called Escape From Reason by a guy named Schaeffer. He's a Christian and I'm an atheist but I found it fairly enlightening. It's a really simple read.
07:12 AM on 07/09/12 
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The Personist
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I miss Personist. No one to talk philosophy with.

I was rereading something in Difference And Repetition last night and I found some notes I took from something you said to me about the univocity of Being and so here I am this morning, waiting to make sure I don't get evicted for bogus reasons, and saying "I miss talking theory with you too."

I've gotten really into Foucault since the last time I posted here--The History Of Sexuality Vol. 1 is my jam--, and I'm starting a reading group where we're doing all of A Thousand Plateaus. Should be awesome.

Also, thanks to Deleuze and an essay I read by Pheng Cheah, I'm increasingly interested in non-dialectical materialisms (which are I suppose ultimately a turn to radical empiricism, though that's just me speculating wildly)
03:46 PM on 07/09/12 
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Love As Arson
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Foucault is good for his analysis of power, however, I find the absence of women in his work troubling.
05:11 PM on 07/09/12 
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Nevuk
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Well... Foucault really wouldn't have run into women that much. He was a gay man who died during the rise of modern feminism (granted he died after the second wave occurred in the US, he wasn't living in the US at the time and the french have always struck me as a little slower progressing on social fronts). He also tried his damnedest to avoid the Greeks (their misogyny isn't something I think he would have even thought about, even though it aids in his thesis for the History of Sexuality).

That said, I find most of his principles to apply regardless of gender (his exploration of the panopticon in Discipline and Punishment rises to mind immediately) .
05:53 PM on 07/09/12 
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Love As Arson
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His sexuality is a bit of a cop-out. A history of sexuality that does speak on the idea of gender and the power-relations imbued with the way the norm has been articulated, is incomplete. Again, I don't deny he had significant contributions, I simply find his works lacking.
06:20 PM on 07/09/12 
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The Personist
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Yeah I think the most interesting thing about Foucault is his analysis of power, though I'm also very fond of, say, "Las Meninas" (haven't read the rest of The Order Of Things yet) because (1) he's a fantastic writer and (2) the way he demonstrates how representation constitutes itself is phenomenal. Also his lectures are great. but the lack of women is troubling, and also I'm sure you've heard about some of the rather obtuse things he said about rape, right? in a panel discussion on Discipline And Punish, he said punishing rape as a sexualized crime instead of just as physical violence was a form of biopower, which is like...totally ignorant of how rape works vis-a-vis gender, though it is a statement that's kind of consistent with his ideas about power. But then another problem is that Foucault doesn't really talk about gender at all (or, for that matter, race, at least not other than when he gestures to "state racism" over and over again).

Also he said fucked up shit about the Iranian revolution.
08:15 PM on 07/09/12 
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Nevuk
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He also defended child molesters, I believe. Foucault was probably the greatest theorist of the 20th century, but that isn't to say he had no flaws.
08:18 PM on 07/09/12 
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jawstheme
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This thread is alive and well again.
08:50 PM on 07/09/12 
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Nevuk
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Something that occurred to me - isn't Foucault someone who argues against essentialism, ie he might not consider gender anything besides a social construct? I mean he never flat out says this but many people who do think this way cite Foucault as an influence towards that belief.



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