Suggested readings, #86

Here it is, a rundown of interesting articles I’ve come across recently, to consider for your weekend readings:

Examine everything: the heuristic philosophy of Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn. Book review of Ars Vitae — The Fate of Inwardness and the Return of the Ancient Arts of Living, in which Lasch-Quinn argues for a return to the inner life in order to combat the maladies of the 21st century. (LA Review of Books)

How Japanese people stay fit for life, without ever visiting a gym. One of my occasional picks paying homage to Japanese culture. In this case, the answer is: walking, everywhere. (Medium)

How to fall out of love. Ancient philosophy and the cure of lovesickness. Long read by Don Robertson on how to cure yourself of mad love by following the advice of the poets Lucretius and Ovid. (Medium)

Why are politicians suddenly talking about their ‘lived experience’? A must read by Anthony Appiah about the perils of relying on one’s own “lived experience” in order to make points allegedly representative of large groups (based on ethnicity, gender, etc.). (Guardian)

Object lessons. A stimulating piece on Henry James’ novels and the problem of objectifying other people. I think it goes awry in places where the author doesn’t seem to appreciate enough the distinctions between human beings and art objects. Still, worth reading. (ArtNews)

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Massimo is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. He blogs at and He is the author of How to Be a Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life.

5 thoughts on “Suggested readings, #86”

  1. Speaking editorially, one’s “lived experience” sounds quasi-redundant, anyway, in addition to being little more than a rhetorical flourish. As opposed to one’s “non-lived experience”? Or, as opposed to a Humean “passively smitten with bundles of impressions experience”?

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    1. In a book review, Gore Vidal once quoted the book’s author as saying “a point in time.” Vidal wrote, parenthetically, “As opposed to a point out of time?” I read that review some 27 years ago in Vidal’s United States: Essays 1952-1992. Ever since then, whenever I encounter the phrase “a point in time,” I say to myself, “As opposed to a point out of time?”

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  2. As the author mentions briefly in his piece, the urban design of Japanese cities are particularly suited for walking a lot. And the U.S. (not only to Japan but to Europe) is a country where it’s hard to go to places without having a car (I live in New Jersey and the only options of getting around effectively are bus or car) Japan is also very comparably safe with regards to its crime rate, even kids walk to school and use public transit on their own.

    Sure this has culture embedded into it, but we can also have more of this is we actually have public transit implemented here in the U.S.

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