A Philosophy of Boredom

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Reaktion Books, Apr 15, 2005 - Philosophy - 176 pages
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It has been described as a "tame longing without any particular object" by Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your world system" by Joseph Brodsky, but still very few of us today can explain precisely what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of the central preoccupations of our age as it probes the nature of boredom, how it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we cannot seem to overcome it by any act of will.

Lars Svendsen brings together observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and popular culture, examining boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and modern explorations into alienation and transgression by twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and entertaining account of our dullest moments and most maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will appeal to anyone curious to know what lies beneath the overwhelming inertia of inactivity.
 

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This is brilliant work. I was not bored reading it.

Contents

Preface
7
TWO Stories of Boredom
49
THREE The Phenomenology of Boredom
107
FOUR The Ethics of Boredom
133
Postscript
153
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About the author (2005)

Lars Svendsen is associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bergen in Norway. He is the author of many books, including Man, Morals and Genes: A Critique of Biologism and The Philosophy of Evil.

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