Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Review: Great Books of the Western World
Great Books of the Western World by Blaise Pascal
My rating: 0 of 5 stars
Pascal's thought is simply incredible. From the beginning of this book, which includes Pascal's "Provincial Letters" on the Jansenist vs. Jesuit controversy, through Pensées, which makes up the heart of this book and the heart of Pascal's thought, to the end of the book in Pascal's scientific and mathematical treatises, there is never a dully moment, never a moment worth missing. Throughout all of his writings, Pascal is witty, engaging, and insightful. Pensées, Pascal's greatest and, unfortunately, forever unfinished work, is a masterpiece of philosophy which does not receive nearly as much attention today as it should. In this work, Pascal presages nearly every major development in continental (and even analytic) philosophy since his lifetime; one can see foreshadows of existentialism, especially the thought of Kierkegaard; of Hume; of Derrida and Foucault; of Nietzsche; it is all there in 924 aphorisms of varying length -- anywhere from a partial sentence to a full essay -- hardly a one of which would not provide fuel for hours of thought, reflection, and meditation. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the end of philosophy: the living of the fullness of life.
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