Philosophy Now April - May 2020

Philosophy Now is a magazine for everyone interested in ideas. It isn't afraid to tackle all the major questions of life, the universe and everything. It tries to corrupt innocent citizens by convincing them that philosophy can be exciting, worthwhile and comprehensible, and also to provide some light and enjoyable reading matter for those already ensnared by the muse, such as philosophy students and academics. It contains articles on all aspects of philosophy, plus book reviews, film reviews, news, cartoons, and the occasional short story.

United Kingdom
Anja Publications Ltd
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
nietzsche’s hammer

EMO NIETZSCHE © DEIMANTE JUDICKAITE, 2020 Friedrich Nietzsche is not known as a positive guy. Most accounts of him give us a tender and morose misanthrope consistently repulsed by everything he saw around him (unless he saw a mountain; he liked mountains). As a philosopher, he is widely seen as a destructive force, tearing down anything that gave off the slightest whiff of tradition or convention. There’s little doubt Nietzsche would be proud of this reputation; in his chest-puffing autobiography Ecce Homo, he described himself as “dynamite”. Whilst there is no shortage of evidence for Nietzsche’s demolition programme, it is on particularly clear show in 1888’s Twilight of the Idols. This work is a protracted assault on the philosophical canon that Nietzsche sees flowing forth from errors originally made by Plato.…

4 min
the philosophy now festival 2020

The century-old doors exploded inwards as Rick and I, laden with crates and rolls of paper, pushed into the eccentric Art Deco building. Conway Hall, so familiar from many weird and wonderful philosophy gatherings, was awaiting us in all its solemn charm. The ideal setting for an event that was equally eccentric but also definitely aspiring to awesomeness. It was the fifth Philosophy Now Festival. In only an hour people would be streaming in. I’ve organised philosophy events for more than twenty years now, but there is always this uncertainty just before it happens: Is it going to be a disaster? Have we forgotten something vital? Fast forward three hours, and there could be no doubt that worries were unfounded. Even the early morning events had been well attended, the discussions lively…

10 min
eternal recurrence revisited

I read Friedrich Nietzsche with a mixture of admiration, amusement, outrage, and exasperation. His philosophy is the antithesis of the kind of philosophy I usually like to read and to do (that is to say, analytic philosophy), and I cannot read him for very long at a stretch. It’s like listening to a man talking at the top of his voice all the time, and it becomes wearisome. But his writing is extremely rich, stimulating, and crammed with ideas. One particular idea of his has always intrigued me: the idea of eternal recurrence (or eternal return, as it is also known). It is a bizarre, fanciful, poetic idea, and it occurred to me that applying the methods of analytic philosophy to it might be a fruitful marriage between the analytic and…

2 min
philosophical haiku

FRIEDRICH HAYEK(1899–1992) Hayek’s reputation as an economist and political philosopher has suffered on account of his popular but vitriolic and unbalanced rant against state power, The Road to Serfdom (1944). In it he argued that even mild, well-intentioned attempts at central planning will inevitably slide towards authoritarianism. The book was appropriated by the worst zealots of neoliberalism. But there remains much wisdom in the fundamental points he returned to time and again. The Enlightenment bequeathed to us a seemingly unshakable confidence in the capacity of human reason. Reason sets us apart from the beasts and gives us the power to shape our world after our own designs. It matters not that history is littered with the burnt-out wrecks of infallible schemes for the creation of the ideal society: we still cling to…

15 min
on becoming more than human

On his 2013 album Yeezus, the Chicago rapper Kanye West highlighted something that the world had failed to notice, namely, that he is a god. He had been called many things in his life – including a jackass by Barack Obama – but never this. Naturally, West’s deific pretensions incurred accusations of narcissism and blasphemy. The offending song was unambiguously titled ‘I Am a God’, and its message was clear: I, Kanye West, am more than human. West later explained that the song was born out of frustration. Desperate to become a success in the fashion industry, yet feeling rebuffed by the labels he wanted to work with, he was tipped over the edge at Paris Fashion Week when he was pointedly asked not to attend a series of events: “So…

17 min
two famous philistines of philosophy

Received wisdom says that the philosophical projects of Nietzsche and Plato are about as diametrically opposite as any two philosophical projects can be. This impression is not without justification. Plato is the philosopher of otherworldly order who argued that our senses do not reveal any valuable or fundamental truths. Nietzsche is a self-proclaimed inverter of Platonic philosophy, denying and damning all that is eternal, perfect, and transcendent. However, an over-looked parallel between Nietzsche and Plato in their aesthetic ideas shows they have some unexpected common ground. Specifically, they both attack broad classes of art, arguing that such art is socially problematic. The problem for both of them is that art can negatively affect the development of higher types of people. “But wait,” you might already be saying, “I can remember…