Saturday, September 01, 2007

How Should We Then Live?

I just finished this book yesterday and I must say I quite enjoyed it. Beyond just merely outlining a history of western philosophy and civilization, Schaffer examines how these philosophies shaped and guided the culture around it, particularly through the arts ( thankfully, he uses a lot of cool pictures). Whether it be how the dualism of Thomas Aquinas shaped the direction of modern thought, eventually leading to Immanuel Kant's noumenal and phenomenal dichotomy, or how the classical music of Richard Wagner was written to propogate materialism and nihilism, Schaffer provides an insight into the deeper meaning behind culture and the arts of which previously I was almost completely unaware.

I leave you with a short clip from the first chapter.

(Schaffer: 19)

"People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world view, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People's presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the world. Their presuppositions also provide the basic for their values and therefore for their decisions. "

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