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June 19 , 2009

Alkibiades' Love

Essays in Philosophy


Alkibiades, a central character in Plato's Symposium, claims that philosophy touches him to the quick. When Socrates speaks, he's often moved to tears and realizes he must change his life. In Alkibiades' Love, Jan Zwicky demonstrates that this image of philosophy is not anachronistic, but remains the living heart of the discipline. Philosophy can indeed matter to our lives, but for it to do so, we must reconceive the methods that, since the Enlightenment, have dominated its self-image in the West. In these meticulously researched essays, Zwicky argues that analytic and poststructuralist philosophy are not simply fashions in academic discourse, but are manifestations of the technocracy which they sustain and promote. The alternative she develops, by showing it in action, is lyric philosophy - an integrated mode of understanding whose foundations lie in the way we comprehend music and metaphor. Written in lucid and powerful prose, Alkibiades' Love will interest a broad readership, from students of ancient Greek philosophy to ecologists seeking a coherent foundation for their work. Zwicky offers deep and original readings of Freud, Plato, and Simone Weil, and resuscitates Max Wertheimer's work, linking it to our comprehension of mathematics, metaphor, and ecological structures. Zwicky has been hailed as one of the most important and original thinkers of our time. Alkibiades' Love illuminates and extends her groundbreaking work while providing an accessible introduction for those coming to her thought for the first time.
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