Los Angeles Review of Books
Between Life and Norms
July 23rd, 2017, 06:10 PM

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE HAS BEEN accused of many things in politics, from Nazism to incoherence. His place in political philosophy has been rejected, while many see him as an essential thinker about power, the state, and social difference. While there is a danger of evasion and finding excuses to ignore difficult parts of Nietzsche, it would […]

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From Emergency to Monopoly: Presidential War Games
July 23rd, 2017, 06:10 PM

THE LATE HISTORIAN Arthur Schlesinger Jr. is remembered for warning of the expansion and abuse of executive power in his classic 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, published just a year before Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. But Schlesinger also strongly believed the president’s “heroic leadership” was essential to American democracy, particularly in times of crisis. […]

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Crime and Publishing: The Story of Jack Abbott and Norman Mailer
July 23rd, 2017, 06:10 PM

ON A STEAMY Friday evening in July 1981, Jack Abbott went out with two female friends. Abbott had been released from prison six weeks earlier; although freedom still made him anxious, he liked to go out dancing anyway. Sometime after 5:00 a.m., the three of them stopped by the 24-hour Binibon Cafe in New York’s […]

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The Weight of It: Ethel Rohan and Noley Reid Talk Shame, Food, and Success
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

NOLEY REID and Ethel Rohan write the hard stuff: families plagued by grief, hunger, and body shaming. This winter, each author came across the other’s work and immediately recognized a kindred spirit. Both Reid’s Pretend We Are Lovely and Rohan’s The Weight of Him open after the death of a son. Both mine the ways we channel grief into our […]

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The Art of Excess
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

EXISTENTIALISM IS ALWAYS a great conversation starter at parties because almost everyone has at least heard of it, even though very few know what it means exactly. Even those who do think they know what it means usually disagree. That’s because existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes working it out for ourselves and coming to […]

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Conversational Philosophy: A Forum on Richard Rorty
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

AFTER DONALD J. TRUMP was elected president of the United States, the American philosopher Richard Rorty (1931–2007) returned to the pages of many of the major newspapers of the world as one of the few thinkers who had predicted the election of a “strongman” with Trump’s homophobic and racist features. The relevant passage can be […]

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Rorty and Post-Post-Truth
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

THIS PAST JANUARY I was visiting the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on Constitution Avenue for a meeting of engineers who were developing curriculum to integrate ethics in their teaching. Given the recent election, the meeting could not have been more ironic. The National Academy of Sciences was established by an act of Congress, which […]

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Rorty and Social Hope
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

LESS THAN A MONTH after the election of Donald Trump to the American presidency, I found myself sitting in the audience of an academic conference devoted to what had become, rather suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, a very timely topic: pedagogy. The event, which was sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for American Studies, commemorated the centennial […]

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Richard Rorty’s Legacy: Criticizing His Critics
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

SINCE HIS DEATH 10 years ago Richard Rorty’s work seems to have been somewhat marginalized, and now, in spite of his very public and successful career, his name and his contributions go almost unmentioned. After the publication of Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature in 1979, Rorty became one of the main philosophers to capture […]

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A Journey with Rorty: 1986–2017
July 22nd, 2017, 06:10 PM

WHEN RICHARD RORTY came to speak at my college in 2004, I volunteered to pick him up at the Syracuse airport, an hour drive from the college. I recognized him right away, of course, since I’d seen his picture on the backs of many of the books I’d used for my dissertation and that I’d […]

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