The Art of Philosophy

The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as a Practice

PETER SLOTERDIJK
TRANSLATED BY KAREN MARGOLIS
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 120
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/slot15870
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  • Book Info
    The Art of Philosophy
    Book Description:

    In his best-selling book You Must Change Your Life, Peter Sloterdijk argued exercise and practice were crucial to the human condition. In The Art of Philosophy, he extends this critique to academic science and scholarship, casting the training processes of academic study as key to the production of sophisticated thought. Infused with humor and provocative insight, The Art of Philosophy further integrates philosophy and human existence, richly detailing the foundations of this relationship and its transformative role in making the postmodern self.

    Sloterdijk begins with Plato's description of Socrates, whose internal monologues were so absorbing they often rooted the philosopher in place. The original academy, Sloterdijk argues, taught scholars to lose themselves in thought, and today's universities continue this tradition by offering scope for Plato's "accommodations for absences." By training scholars to practice thinking as an occupation transcending daily time and space, universities create the environment in which thought makes wisdom possible. Traversing the history of asceticism, the concept of suspended animation, and the theory of the neutral observer, Sloterdijk traces the evolution of philosophical practice from ancient times to today, showing how scholars can remain true to the tradition of "the examined life" even when the temporal dimension no longer corresponds to the eternal. Building on the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Arendt, and other practitioners of the life of theory, Sloterdijk launches a posthumanist defense of philosophical inquiry and its everyday, therapeutic value.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53040-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. TRANSLATOR’S NOTE
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Karen Margolis
  4. INTRODUCTION THEORY AS A FORM OF THE LIFE OF PRACTICE
    (pp. 1-10)

    The Greek philosopher Epicurus is reputed to have said that a person doing public speaking should bear in mind that a short speech amounts to the same as a long one. Sometimes I quote this remark at the beginning of a lecture to explain to the audience, which is usually slightly alarmed, that on this occasion it must be prepared for the long version that can replace the short one without losing anything. This is the case today: To give you a glimpse of what to expect in the coming hour, I would like to do what rhapsodists of bygone...

  5. 1 THEORY AND ASCETICISM, MODERN AND ANCIENT
    (pp. 11-34)

    The discussion this evening will not tackle the complexities of the life of practice in the arts of the modern era nor in the athletic and religious asceticism of antiquity and the Middle Ages. Our topic is science as practice, or alternatively, science as anthropotechnology, although the latter term only features here to the extent that it means people using practice to develop themselves. I will leave aside speculation about possible eugenic and genetic manipulation as elucidated from Plato to Trotsky with varying degrees of seriousness.¹ In giving the topic this specific title, we are already expressing the idea that...

  6. 2 “THE OBSERVER HAS COME”: THE CREATION OF PERSONS FIT FOR EPOCHÉ
    (pp. 35-60)

    The earlier remarks on the early peculiarities and late complications of theoretical life furnish the preconditions for me to be able to move on to the next part of my reflections. I mentioned earlier that in the second part of this lecture I would talk about the multiple contingency (conditionality) of persons fit for epoché, and I promised to do what is necessary to clarify this obscure expression. I ended the first part of this venture by referring to Husserl’s loan of the word epoché from Greek skepticism and examining its role in the context of phenomenological procedures. The bulk...

  7. 3 THEORY AND SUSPENDED ANIMATION AND ITS METAMORPHOSES
    (pp. 61-84)

    Following these explanations, I can tackle the task of discussing the creation, or rather the self-formation, of the disinterested person. In my introduction, I noted that from the perspective of the history of ideas, it has appeared as a complex of theories on epistemic suspended animation. The initial theoretical asceticism consists in the philosopher’s efforts to shut off, where possible, the aspects of his own being that obstruct theory. Since the roots of the obstruction of theory go deep down into “empirical” existence as such, the exclusion has to start deep down as well. According to the testimony of the...

  8. 4 COGNITIVE MODERNISM: THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS ON THE NEUTRAL OBSERVER
    (pp. 85-96)

    In the course of our interpretation, we have arrived at a crossroads branching out in three different directions. The first takes us straight to the entrance, because one could think we have reached the goal in this matter and have learned as much from the topic as we could under present-day premises. If we took this path, I could close the file immediately and thank you for your attention. If we took the second path, I would like to follow a suggestion from Max Bense, who remarked that now and again in the midst of abstract reflection one should turn...

  9. NOTES
    (pp. 97-104)
  10. NAME INDEX
    (pp. 105-108)