Eros and Irony: A Prelude to Philosophical Anarchism

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SUNY Press, 1982 - Philosophy - 271 pages
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“The conception of culture and philosophy’s role within it developed in this work permits interesting formulations of a number of important issues and concepts: the relations between the utopian and utilitarian functions of philosophic theory; the character of the aesthetic and mystical sensibilities; the meaning and function of metaphor and of irony; the value of theoretical consensus; the nature of philosophic communication; and the distinctive relation of Plato and Socrates as a model for philosophic activity.” — David L. Hall

With Eros and Irony, David Hall re-evaluates the cultural role of philosophy, probing to the very heart of questions in epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of culture. Two central arguments structure the book: the first is that in modern culture the autonomy of the aesthetic and religious sensibilities has been seriously qualified by an overemphasis on narrowly rational moral interests. The second is that philosophic activity must be construed in terms of two conflicting elements: the desire for completeness of understanding, and the failure to achieve such understanding.

Hall provides a historical survey of philosophic thought, encompassing Plato, Kant, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Whitehead. He also avails himself of sources outside of philosophy, in such diverse fields as poetry, psychology, physics, and Eastern religion, to create a work that not only addresses key issues in philosophy, but also has deep implications for science, art, religion, morality, and cultural self-understanding.

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The late, great David Hall was an expert at making the simple, complex.

Selected pages


The Cultural Sensorium
Utopia and Utility
The Myth of Consensus
The Ambiguity of Order
The Metaphoric Muse
From Otherness to Emptiness
Eros Descending

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About the author (1982)

David L. Hall was a professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso. His early research on A. N. Whitehead and American philosophy led him to rethink our understanding of both Daoism and classical Greek philosophy and resulted in the publication of "The Uncertain Phoenix" and "Eros" "and Irony". In addition to the interpretive studies of classical Chinese philosophy, he continued to publish in American philosophy with "Richard Rorty: Prophet and Poet of the New Pragmatism".

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