This Year’s Idées Fixes

My reading orbits an accretion of preoccupations. So far, this year’s idées fixes are the influence of the East on Greco-Roman thought (and by extension, modern thought), Epicureanism, the neo-vitalist/transcendental materialist movement in contemporary philosophy, and asceticism. It may be that the interrelation between these themes are personal, but they appear deeply connected.

Following a question on Twitter I thought I’d compile a list of some of the texts that I’ve recently read and that I’ll be reading over the next few months. Please feel free to make further suggestions of titles that speak urgently to these concerns. These are all complementary to the Urtexts  of Epicurus, Lucretius, and Diogenes Laertius, and to this superb companion.

  • Jane Bennett – Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things [PDF]
  • Pierre Hadot – Philosophy as a way of life
  • Jane Bennett – The Enchantment of Modern Life
  • Pierre Hadot – The Present Alone is Our Happiness
  • Alexander Nehamas – The Art of Living
  • David Jasper – The Sacred Desert
  • Pierre Hadot – The Veil of Isis
  • Randall Collins – The Sociology of Philosophers
  • David Jasper – The Sacred Body
  • Pierre Hadot – What is Ancient Philosophy?

2 thoughts on “This Year’s Idées Fixes

  1. The obvious adjunct to Aurelius is Seneca. I’ve read both, and if one interests the other shall.

    Marcus Aurelius always gave me the impression of a man keenest to persuade himself, informed by a profound fear of death.

    • Thanks Max, I’ve read and enjoyed both, but lean less toward the Stoics these days, and more toward the Epicureans.

      I’ve a soft spot for Marcus, secondary sources are better informed these days on his motivations for writing, primarily for personal reasons. They offer better context than some of the awful Freudian readings of the twentieth century.

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