Category: Overview

Book Recommendations

Books flow through our lives, year after year. What we read defines what we think, and vice versa. Our thinking changes probably more as a result of encountering new ideas and arguments, and less as a result of genuine insight and internal processing. Today, even the idea of a book is in transition: books become electronic files, and many of them have short life-spans. Our attention spans become shorter as well. Books compete with websites and magazines that report news and interpret them for us, like the New York Times, the New Yorker Magazine, the London Review of Books, or...

Wilhelm Reich: Die sexuelle Revolution. 1936

Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) is an unusual psychoanalyst: He connects psychoanalysis with a Marxist analysis of society, and he revolutionizes psychoanalytic treatment by directly including the body. His writings inspired various forms of body-oriented psychotherapies. He is also much more explicit than many other psychoanalysts about working with the client’s sexuality. The following excerpt from his 1936 book “The Sexual Revolution” examines how the family structure translates the oppression of capitalist modern states (which are still authoritarian) into the repression of sexual impulses. Psychoanalysis studies these forms of repressions as “symptoms”, for instance in obsessive-compulsive behaviors. In Reich’s analysis,...

Timeline of the life and work of Karl Marx

The following timeline is adapted from Marxists.org, which is an excellent source for Marx and Marxism. (The links below will lead to texts at Marxists.org.)  Marxists.org also has a timeline of the works of Marx and Engels. There is also a  good timeline for Karl Marx at the Wikipedia. May 5, 1818 A son Karl is born to barrister Heinrich Marx and his wife, Henriette, in Trier November 28, 1820 A son Frederick is born to textile manufacturer Friedrich Engels and his wife, Elisabeth, in Barmen July 27-29, 1830 Revolution in France September Revolution in Belgium 1830-31 Uprisings in Poland October 1830 Karl...

Karl Marx: Theses On Feuerbach. 1845

Karl Marx wrote his “Theses on Feuerbach” in the Spring of 1845. Friedrich Engels made some editing changes, and the short and sketchy text was published much later (after Marx’s death) as an appendix to Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy in 1888.  Source: Marx/Engels Selected Works, Volume One, p. 13 – 15. Introduction The “Theses on Feuerbach” are eleven short philosophical notes that were meant to outline the first chapter of the book The German Ideology. The 11th thesis became famous and was used on Marx’s grave. “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various...

Political Philosophy Quotes

“From these things it is evident, that the city belongs among the things that exist by nature, and that man is by nature a political animal” (Aristotle, The Politics, 1253a1–3). Authority implies an obedience in which men retain their freedom. Hannah Arendt Plato: The Republic. Book VII: “Say then, my friend, in what manner does tyranny arise?–that it has a democratic origin is evident. Clearly. And does not tyranny spring from democracy in the same manner as democracy from oligarchy–I mean, after a sort? How? The good which oligarchy proposed to itself and the means by which it was maintained...

Heavy-Duty Philosophy Quotes

Who thinks philosophy should be easy to understand? How intelligible is true reality? The following randomly selected quotes demonstrate how complicated philosophical language can be. Language is deeply woven into the thought that reflects on reality, which leads to intricate sentence-structures, and sometimes even to the creation of new terminology. Here is a selection of quotes that reflect the struggle of philosophers to express themselves: Martin Heidegger: “Tell me how you read and I’ll tell you who you are…..Making itself intelligible is suicide for philosophy.” Heidegger: The existential and ontological constitution of the totality of Dasein is grounded in temporality. Accordingly,...

C.G. Jung: Die sieben Reden an die Toten. 1916

Einleitung Der ägyptische Gnostiker Basilides in Alexandria (117 – 138 AD) bezeichnete das Symbol des höchsten Urwesens mit “Abraxas” (griechisch Ἀβρασάξ, Ἀβράξας). Aus diesem Urwesen entstehen die fünf Urkräfte: Geist(Nous), Wort ( Logos), Vorsehung (Phronesis), Weisheit(Sophia), sowie Macht und sittliche Vollkommenheit, die inneren Frieden einschliesst. Basilides verarbeitete verschiedene christlich-jüdische, persische und neuplatonische Überlieferungen zu einem dualistischen Weltbild.Das frühe Christentum war stark gnostisch geprägt, gnostische Richtungen gab es auch im Judentum, und sogar der Islam hat seine Gnostiker (die Sufis). Die Gnostiker gehen davon aus, dass der Kern eines jeden Menschen ein “göttlicher Funke” ist. Der göttliche Funke ist unsterblich, er existiert außerhalb...

Jean Paul: Aphorismen.

Jean Paul heißt eigentlich eigentlich Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (1763 in Wunsiedel bis 1825 in Bayreuth), war ein deutscher Schriftsteller. Sein Werk steht literaturgeschichtlich zwischen der Klassik und der Romantik. Die von ihm gewählte Namensänderung geht auf Jean Pauls Bewunderung für Jean-Jacques Rousseau zurück. Im folgenden sind einige Zitate aus seinen Werken.

Recently Created Pages

This list shows the last 80 pages created on this website. It does not inlcude  posts, which are sorted chronologically on the main page.  

Goethe: Der Versuch als Vermittler von Objekt und Subjekt. 1792

Aus J.W. Goethe: Gedenkausgabe der Werke, Briefe und Gespräche., Bd. 16, S. 844-855 Herausgeber:Ernst Beutler. Entstehungsdatum: wohl April 1792. Erscheinungsdatum:1949.  Sobald der Mensch die Gegenstände um sich her gewahr wird, betrachtet er sie in bezug auf sich selbst, und mit Recht. Denn es hängt sein ganzes Schicksal davon ab, ob sie ihm gefallen oder mißfallen, ob sie ihn anziehen oder abstoßen, ob sie ihm nutzen oder schaden. Diese ganz natürliche Art, die Sachen anzusehen und zu beurteilen, scheint so leicht zu sein, als sie notwendig ist, und doch ist der Mensch dabei tausend Irrtümern ausgesetzt, die ihn oft beschämen und ihm...

Wisdom Crackers

You can find deep insight in strange places. The following quotes are randomly collected from various traditions; if you prefer Asian wisdom, I suggest you check out this collection of Chinese proverbs. I like short sentences that are easy to remember. They should contain rich meanings: fortune cookies for intellectuals. Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of humans. Proverbs, 27:20 The best way to do something is to do it. Joseph Eagle I know not with what weapons World War Ill will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones....

Scientific Assumptions

For a long time, science has operated on the assumption that nature is ruled by causality. What this means, however, is by no means clear to philosophers, and has become a major philosophical debate during the 20th century. Wittgenstein is one of the more prominent skeptics. He argues in the Tractatus that when we scientifically explain something, we try to establish links between one event and another. But are the different states of the world really linked at all? Furthermore, how recognizable are these links, if they existed? Consider the Gambler’s fallacy: People expect certain outcomes based on past events,...

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This website brings a philosophical perspective to current events and trends. What are the visions we have for our collective future? How do we balance humanity with technological progress? What is humanity in the first place? What do we mean by “nature,” and how do we relate to the nature around us, as well as to our own nature? I created this website to bring together different interests, reflect on my own traditions, and pursue these big questions. I am a psychotherapist, and I teach philosophy in the Bay Area of San Francisco. I grew up in Bavaria, Germany.

Challenges of the Anthropocene

This paper draws on early twentieth-century philosophical anthropology as well as cognitive science and evolutionary anthropology to examine how humans compensated for their biological under-determination by becoming second-natured, empathetic, cooperative, symbol-using creatures. Examining the capacities for cooperation that emerged in our evolutionary history may help clarify our thinking about contemporary problems that require collective decisions.