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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Kaufmann: Critique of Religion and Philosophy

“Modern philosophy has not yielded any remotely acceptable picture of man. The thinkers of the Enlightenment showed too little understanding of religion and art, feeling, passion, and the imagination; and neither romanticism nor any modern philosophy has produced a conception of man that would even tempt us to assent.” ~ Walter Kaufmann in his book Critique of Religion and Philosophy. He notes that the inheritors of the legacy of the Enlightenment thinkers, the professors of philosophy in today’s universities, are mired in lifeless scholasticism. “Whatever professors of philosophy take up nowadays tends to become scholastic, and the rigor of the scholastics is rigor mortis… Scholasticism has not changed its ways. Rigor sets in after the life has been driven out of its parts. To creep is a virtue, to leap a vice, and speed the sin of the spirit. As for “The Philosophic Flight” (the title of the first chapter of this book), that is to the scholastic a contradiction in terms.” Kaufmann is renowned as a translator of Nietzsche—but he has written extensively on a range of philosophical subjects. In my opinion, his Critique of Religion and Philosophy is among his best works.

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